Silver Creek sidewalk project makes progress

SILVER CREEK — Donna Metzger, co-chairwoman of the Silver Creek Planning Board, updated the mayor and village board of trustees during a recent meeting, on the progress being made with the sidewalk improvement project.

“Last month we met with Linnea Carlson from Chautauqua County Health Network and she had gone over all of the surveys we had done on the sidewalks in the spring,” Metzger reported. “Each one of the planning board members had a route to walk and marked down which sidewalks were good, bad, indifferent. She went over them and she’s going to be setting up a community conversation with the school superintendent and somebody else from the health network to see on improving sidewalks, (especially) where kids are walking (to and) from school.”

Carlson has been working with the planning board as part of implementing a complete streets program for Silver Creek with the hopes of making the village, especially around the school, more pedestrian friendly.

“Under a complete streets perspective, streets are safer and more accessible for individuals of all ages and abilities, pedestrians, motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists and students,” Carlson said. “They support the local economy by promoting walkability, increasing the health of citizens, and further developing communities.”

Carlson, along with Metzger and the planning board are in the process of preparing for a community conversation.

“Silver Creek is a very tight-knit community dedicated to working together to address concerns they see in the community,” Carlson said. The feedback, she says, has centered mainly around “improved sidewalk implementation.”

One of the challenges for the village may be in encouraging homeowners to participate in doing their part.

“Homeowners are responsible for the sidewalks along the front of their properties,” explained village clerk Thomas Postle. “If it becomes a hazardous area or if it’s in disrepair the homeowner has to have it fixed.”

The good news for such homeowners, Postle said: “We have a sidewalk rebate program in the village. We reimburse twelve dollars per linear foot to replace their sidewalk sections. The contractor tells us, it’s about half price.”

Postle said residents should be expecting some sort of notification.

“Your sidewalk needs to be repaired; you have so many days to do it,” Postle said, as an example. “Whether that happens this year or not (is unclear), because we’re already into September.”

Mayor Nick Piccolo expressed his hope that the community can get together to fix the sidewalks.

“We’ll take your survey and look at the most important areas,” Piccolo told Metzger. “I know that one of the main areas (of concern) is Parkway, another one is the Night Street extension by the garage. All that area which would make it more passable to walk and encourage people to walk.”

Piccolo added that because of the rebate program the village offers, grants to help the project might not be as easily attainable.

“We need to find out how we can do it because the fact is we have a reimbursement program in the village that might make us ineligible for grant money,” Piccolo said. “I want to do something like Fredonia did. They got a grant for some off their sidewalk replacement. It covered the cost. Some of it they were able to do and they also had some of the work done by prisoners. I’m hoping that we can have somebody come to one of our trustees workshops and explain totally to use what we’re eligible for, what we can get and what we have to do in terms of our reimbursement project.”