Silver Creek hears energizing presentation

SILVER CREEK — Healthy options were presented to the Silver Creek Village Board earlier this week.

The board has been working with Mikayla Certo, community project coordinator at the Chautauqua County Health Network. Certo previously acquired benches and a bike rack for a park in Silver Creek and was received warmly. She is working with Complete Streets, as part of the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities initiative, a five-year grant that runs through 2020.

“We work in high needs districts,” said Certo. “There are high rates of obesity and diabetes in Silver Creek.”

Complete Streets is a program with policies and plans that “make streets for everyone — bikes, strollers, etc,” Certo said. “What we’re focusing on today (is) the older members of the community. We want to make streets that are designated for pedestrians.”

While the health initiative is a strong focus of the Creating Healthy Schools Initiative, care for the aged is also one of the primary focuses. With senior citizens making up 16 percent of the population in Chautauqua County, focusing on better accomodating the aged seems like a natural approach for Complete Streets to take.

“AARP does a lot of work with Complete Streets … a recent poll conducted revealed about 50 percent of older Americans approve of the Complete Streets policies,” Certo added. “People want streets that are more walkable.”

Also speaking on behalf of Complete Streets at the meeting was resident Daniel L. Drozdiel, who discussed reasons why people want to move to a community and how to focus on making a community for appealing to everyone.

“One of the reasons is, they want access,” Drozdiel noted, going on to compare what’s been done to the streets of Hamburg, to what could be done in Silver Creek.

“Hamburg is going through an economic rebirth, it’s a great example of what changing the environment can do for a place,” he said.

The main areas of focus in Silver Creek were Knight Street and Webster Avenue, which coincided with some ideation of improving those streets already on the table.

However, Trustee Vincent Tampio made note, “This is the wrong forum. You need to come to our workshop. We have to talk costs, budgets, grants, unions, who can do the work. There’s a lot of stuff going on right now.”

The board encouraged both Certo and Drozdiel to attend their next workshop, set to take place Dec. 13 at 9 a.m., to further examine and develop possible plans with Complete Streets.