MAYVILLE - Nearly two years in the making, the Chautauqua County Greenway Plan its set to make its official debut.
The 200-page plan was discussed by Mark Geise, county Department of Planning and Economic Development deputy director, during a county Parks Commission meeting.
Also discussed was the Friends of Chautauqua Greenways, a group of volunteer who will maintain trails within the county parks system.
The group was established to help implement the Greenway Plan, and is expected to begin assisting the parks system this summer.
Geise said final edits of the plan, which began in earnest in spring 2011, will be unveiled Tuesday at a special gathering - possibly in Mayville, although the final details haven't been announced.
After some public and stakeholder input sessions, the deputy director said he is pleased with the end-result.
"I'm really proud and excited of the plan," Geise said. "People will be amazed by how much work and what we have here. We've got so much here in Chautauqua County."
"The ultimate goal," he added, "is to establish Chautauqua County as a destination for outdoor active living and recreation. Think about it, I have friends who live in Buffalo that come down here to swim and fish and hike.
"It's the place to go."
The Greenway Plan came about during the adoption of the Chautauqua County Comprehensive Plan, dubbed Chautauqua 20/20, in January 2011. Geise said as early as 2010, he knew a formal plan would be established focusing on the county's parks and trails system.
Funding for the Greenway project, including an inventory of the entire county parks and recreation system, was secured through the County Legislature.
A 25-person steering committee, with representatives from trail and conservation groups from across the county, guided the development of the initiative.
The goal of the committee was to determine what amenities - both natural and man-made - the county had at its disposal.
The Greenway Plan is also designed to conserve those resources over the next decade.
"It's coming to a conclusion," Geise said of the two-year process. "We finalized the plan and it's being printed right now. I wanted to talk with the Parks Commission and give them an update. A number of them have been involved."
Attached to the Greenway Plan will be a 10-page executive summary. Geise said the overall plan should provide a 10- to 20-year plan on how to utilize the county's natural resources. He said the last such plan to be established was in 1968.
"This Greenway Plan is a map of what makes sense to connect towns and our resources, towns and natural resources," he said. "The Parks Commission was looking to do some long-term planning. It made sense to do this right."
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