Genesee Valley Greenway

Walkers travel along the Genesee Valley Greenway near Cuba during an event.

CUBA — State officials want some local guidance on how to develop the last miles of the Genesee Valley Greenway.

On Feb. 7, residents are encouraged to stop by from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Cuba Public Library to meet with Greenway officials and a planning consultant from Alta Planning + Design. The workshop is structured as an open house, with no set time for formal meetings.

“Our project will ultimately propose a prioritized list of projects that the Greenway will use to implement improvements,” officials said in a press release.

For more information, call (585) 493-3614 or write to Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, One Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427.

The trail follows the course of the old Genesee Valley Canal, a water route connecting the Erie Canal at Rochester to the Allegheny River at Olean for travel to Pittsburgh, the Ohio River and along the Mississippi River. First proposed in the 1840s, construction lasted until the Civil War, but the venture proved unprofitable against railroads and was sold off after a decade of operation.

After the closure of the railroad, much of the right-of-way sat abandoned.

By 1896, a designated bicycle path between Genesee Valley Park in Rochester and Scottsville became popular for riders after the city banned riding on sidewalks. The paths were abandoned by 1907 as cars became more popular.

In 1963, Rochester Gas and Electric purchased the old rail corridor, selling it to the state in 2000. By the 1980s, state and Finger Lakes Trail Committee officials discussed using the corridor to connect Rochester to the east-west trail system, which is part of the North Country National Scenic Trail.

The first two miles of the trail opened in 1993. The 90-mile former canal towpath and railway bed in Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, Allegany and Cattaraugus counties has been a State Parks multi-use trail since 2011.

Currently, the Greenway dead-ends a mile west of Cuba in the town of Hinsdale. Officials have considered expanding the trail to Hinsdale or even to Olean along the old rail corridor, but efforts have not been successful to date.

In August, the state announced $6.4 million in grants from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, in addition to $4 million in state funding, which will support ongoing improvements to the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park and the Niagara Shoreline Trail in Western New York. Plans for the Greenway call for $6.5 million in improvements.

Projects for the Genesee Valley Greenway along the southern end include disability access improvements at Greenway Bridge at Mt. Morris in Livingston County near Letchworth State Park, as well as creation of a strategic plan to identify further improvements along the rest of the Greenway, which passes through 16 towns in the five counties as it follows the corridor of the former Genesee Valley Canal and Pennsylvania Road.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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