Mar 07, 2014 Joe Genco Uncategorized
Town officials are working on a five-year plan for development of the Skaneateles Falls hamlet as well as nearby areas.
The Town Board discussed some of the projects proposed in the plan, including improvements to Skaneateles Falls Playground and a “rails to trails” project, at its March 6 meeting.
The plan is being put together in conjunction with the town’s application for community development funding distributed annually by Onondaga County. The town plans to apply for the grant this year to get money to improve the playground and basketball court areas at Skaneateles Falls Playground.
The grant application is being handled by town employee Sue Murphy, who works primarily with the parks department, Supervisor Mary Sennett said.
The board was also provided with some insight and tips about the grant and community development planning at the meeting by County Legislator Michael Plochocki, who sits on the county’s planning and economic development committee.
The community development grants are distributed by the county, but actually come from funds from the federal government. The federal guidelines for the money specifies that it should be used to develop areas with low income, however that does not mean Skaneateles should be excluded completely, he said.
“It is understandable that Skaneateles might get less than other communities, but it still should be getting a share and that share, of course, should be targeted at the areas in Skaneateles where the median income is the lowest or where there are other similar financial needs,” he said.
Skaneateles’ five-year plan and grant application are “right on target” and have a good chance to receive funding this year, he said.
Rails to trails, as it was called by Councilor Connie Brace, involves a project to establish trails, along old railroad lines, usable by bikes and pedestrians that will connect the village creekwalk to the northern hamlets.
“We want to link the village to Mottville and Skaneateles Falls and we have pieces of it in place, we have right of ways in place that have been preserved by the planning offices both in the village and in the town,” she said.
Brace said the board plans to form a committee for the initiative and she has already heard from residents interested in getting involved.
The board has taken steps recently to protect three old railroad bridges, all traversing Skaneateles Creek, that could be incorporated in the trails, similarly to what was already done with the Charlie Major nature trail, which would be part of the rails to trails project.
The board also discussed having a 6-foot high “pedestrian culvert” installed underneath Old Seneca Turnpike that would allow the Charlie Major nature trail to continue south toward the village. Board members said they will ask the town’s engineering advisory committee to advise them on what would need to be done to go forward with that project.
An early draft of the five-year plan also mentions seeking access to either the National Grid or Stauffer Chemical lands to provide better access to Skaneateles Falls Playground. The Stauffer Chemical property has been designated a brownfield area, unfit to build on due to pollution, though the board hopes the state Department of Environmental Conservation will release it from that status this year, making it available for development. Other possible projects include a new community playground and a “nature-scape oriented park” on land owned by the town on Sheldon Road.
–The board voted to establish a temporary planning and zoning sub-committee to do some needed revisions to the town’s zoning laws. The town’s laws do not currently provide a definition for “easement” or “right of way” and other terms. The revisions recommended by the subcommittee will not be in conflict with any possible changes enacted by the pending revision to the town comprehensive plan, Sennett said.
–The board voted to close the transfer station on Tuesday, June 10, so the employees can participate in a required safety training course.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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