June 20, 2022
Town of Allegany, GObike team up to win Wilson Foundation funding for trail connecting school, community.
Mike Higgins was recently elected to serve as the Town of Allegany Supervisor for a 2 year term starting Jan 1, 2022. He also currently serves on the Cattaraugus Regional Community Foundation board.
As a regional leader in active mobility planning, GObike is uniquely poised to lead this process in coordination with the Town of Allegany.
Supervisor Higgins approached GObike in 2021 while Supervisor-elect to begin the process of applying for a Wilson Foundation to conduct an extensive community engagement process and develop a feasibility study that connects the Allegheny River Valley Trail and the planned Southern Tier Trail to a system of greenways that improve access from the school to the village.
The Middle High School in Allegany is 2.2 miles from the Village of Allegany along a 45mph road with no sidewalks which prevents any of the 626 students, 99 faculty and staff, and the 100 households along the route from choosing any mode of travel other than a vehicle. This has limited opportunities for active mobility options such as walking and bicycling and contributes to the challenge of overweight (15.9%) and obesity (20.9%) among the student body (2020-2021). Additionally, 17% of the population in the town are 65 years of age or older, which is above the national average of 15%.
Between the Village and the Middle High School, there are currently people regularly walking or riding their bikes on the shoulder of the road with vehicles traveling above the posted speed limit. This is especially concerning as many of the community’s sports fields are located adjacent to the school and without a sidewalk or trail to separate them.
“The Town is excited to explore safer routes to school and for area residents to access the village and beyond,” said Allegany Town Supervisor Mike Higgins.
“We are very fortunate to have such strong partners for this project. Together, we can improve safety and accessibility in Allegany for people out enjoying their town and region on foot or on bike. This is an integral part of our broader efforts to expand bike and pedestrian options throughout Cattaraugus County,” said GObike Buffalo Executive Director Justin Booth.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo grant for accessibility and design awarded the Town of Allegany a grant of $50,000 in June 2022.
This feasibility and design project is funded by The Ralph C. Wilson Jr Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the New York State Department of Health Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC) program.
GObike and the Town of Allegany will kick off community engagement efforts this summer, encouraging surrounding residents to discuss desired aspects of the trail from amenities to location etc. Those who would like to provide input before official plans are developed should visit gobikebuffalo.org/
The Town of Allegany, formed by the county in 1831, measures 71.7 square miles, and contains 7,493 people as of the 2020 census. The Village was created when the people decided in 1906 that there was a need for extra services not provided by the Town. The Village measures approximately 0.7 square miles and contains 1,816 people as of the 2010 census. The Town’s Government is made up of a Supervisor and 4 Board Members. The Town provides services such as the Recreation and Parks Department, the Senior Citizen’s Center, Dog Control, the Assessor’s Department to all areas of the town, including the village.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds were established at the Community Foundation to provide support to four areas that were important to Mr. Wilson: caregivers, community assets, design and access, and youth sports. Endowment funds, like these created to honor Mr. Wilson, are designed to grow over time and provide funding for charitable causes according to a client’s wishes.
Led by NYSDOH, CHSC aligns school and community connections and a network of multi-sector partners at national, state, and local levels to support high-need populations. CHSC embraces the essential role of the community in school health and is aligned with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model.
GObike promotes active mobility options, trails and greenways, and complete streets in Western New York. We connect and empower communities through advocacy, education, planning, and engagement.