by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Niagara River Greenway Host Communities Standing Committee on Oct. 4 approved $6.1 million for improvements to the Niagara-Wheatfield High School campus, including a new nature trail.
The project is part of an $11 million capital improvement bond issue approved by school district voters last fall under the stipulation that the $6 million portion of the project would not go forward unless Greenway funds were approved.
The planned 2.2-mile Cayuga Creek Nature Trail will offer members of the community use of a bike and walking path, and a greenway that is designed to provide and increase physical and visual access to and from the water, fields and related recreational facilities for a full range of users, including youth, senior citizens and people with special needs, according to NW's School Business Executive Kerin Dumphrey. The trail will go behind the high school and middle school and along Cayuga Creek, then loop back in front of the campus.
A spur off the trail will be the confidence course, a series of challenging physical tests that will be located behind the high school/middle school, made of timber, ropes and other materials that will challenge students physically, beginning with low risk activities and progressing to more difficult challenges.
The trail plan also includes a lighted parking lot, playground, added plantings and security measures for the site including cameras. In addition, school facilities that are used by public groups and residents as well as students, like the grandstand (built in the 1960s), the concession stands, outdoor restrooms and locker rooms, and the all-weather track, are all slated for replacement or improvements as part of the Greenway funding.
"It's being designed as we speak," Dumphrey said Wednesday. He expects bids to go out early in 2012 and most of the work to be done in the spring, summer and fall.
The New York Power Authority's Greenway funds are designed to improve tourism, recreation and the environment. Dumphrey said N-W's project obviously addresses recreation and the environment. Improvements also will allow the school district to host tournaments or co-host tournaments with the district's towns.
"Once this trail is established, I think it will be a tourist attraction in itself," he said. "It will be a nice park like atmosphere for people to come to and enjoy."
•Bullying was among the topics discussed at the Oct. 5 N-W Board of Education meeting.
Sanborn resident RoseMary Warren's suggestion of a confidential tip line to report bullying incidents was supported by board member Kathy Fleming.
Warren also said she thought gym teachers and coaches could stop a lot of bullying and suggested that one period a day they be available to talk with students concerned about bullying.
In other matters, board member Rich Halleen requested that board meetings be recorded for minutes, so they would be more complete, and possibly even filmed as some town governments already do.