Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation awards $1 million grant for Isle View upgrades
The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry is joining partners to plan upgrades to Isle View Park with the support of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, which awarded Erie County a grant in the amount of $1,065,068 for improvements at the park. The project will consist of updates to existing park elements and improvements to the shoreline trail along with adding some new features, such as a new switchback trail connection from River Road to Isle View Park (overcoming a significant grade difference) featuring a new signature overlook to provide views of the Niagara River and the Grand Island bridges. The switchback connection will implement a key recommendation of the Town of Tonawanda’s brownfield opportunity area plan to better connect River View Solar Technology Park and adjacent underutilized parcels to the county’s waterfront park.
“These upgrades to Isle View Park will enhance the park’s beauty, functionality and utility for visitors,” said Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Troy P. Schinzel. “New features and upgrades to existing amenities will give Isle View Park a whole new look and feel, and I thank the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for this generous grant to make it happen.”
A new playground is being planned for the south end of Isle View Park, along with new landscaping improvements separating the park’s maintenance area from the entrance. Interior improvements to the Park’s maintenance building are planned as well as the construction of a rain garden to address drainage issues at the park. The enhanced connection and investment in the county park will increase the marketability of the adjacent sites and aid in the redevelopment of the town’s waterfront.
“This grant comes from the $50 million commitment the foundation made two years ago this week on the 100th anniversary of Mr. Wilson’s birth to support reginal trails,” said J.J. Tighe, director of the Parks & Trails Initiative for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Isle View Park is a critical connection point along the shoreline trail, and these upgrades and new amenities will make the park and trail an even greater asset and destination serving both residents and tourists along the Niagara River.”
Elsewhere, grant funds will be used to repair and update existing river overlooks at the park and to replace benches and picnic tables where needed. The grant is being administered by the Community Foundation.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visit https://www2.erie.gov/parks/.