By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
The Grand Island Town Board voted, 4-0, Monday to hold a new public input meeting regarding the proposed West River Connector Trail.
During the meeting, Councilman Mike Madigan said the last state-run forum to present plans for the project, held July 20 at Grand Island High School, caught Islanders by surprise. The state's preferred alternative No. 3 presented for the first time that night calls for closing the West River Parkway to vehicles and turning it into a multimodal trail.
The public is invited to present their own ideas in an open forum Thursday, Oct. 6, in the Grand Viking Theater of Grand Island High School.
The state may or may not attend. Madigan sent the Dispatch a copy of an approved letter on town letterhead signed "The Town of Grand Island" to Mark Thomas, western district director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Angela Berti, NYSOPRHP marketing and public affairs director, that invited the state representatives to the meeting.
"There is considerable public interest regarding the proposed Grand Island West River Parkway Multi-use Path and the pending finalization of the designing of this plan in mid-December," the letter said. "The people have requested a meeting to provide an opportunity to openly give their input prior to this plan's finalization. The Town of Grand Island Town Board voted to schedule a meeting.
"Following this vote, (Town Supervisor) Nathan McMurray and Mike Madigan scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Grand Island High School at 1100 Ransom Road in the main auditorium to discuss the West River Bike Path.
"We would like to invite you and your designates representing New York State Parks to this meeting. We will arrange to have this meeting recorded in the event you can't attend."