One area of the Vision Plan I’m working on is the bicycle trail. Last November Orleans County Tourism sponsored a workshop lead by Harvey Botzman of Rochester and author of several bicycle touring books; see www.cyclotour.com. There will be up to 3 trails in the Point Breeze area, designated on a county bicycling map, following public roads (no signage at this time). We’re digitizing the trails in our Geographic Information System now and this spring Harvey and I will tour each trail looking for any safety issues, rating condition, etc. Our contracted ad designer will prepare the county map and I anticipate that for each trail a separate ‘cue sheet’ will be developed. These are black & white trail maps indicating attractions and services on each.
Regarding dredging, I attended a Corps of Engineers teleconference among Great Lakes harbors Feb. 10 and small harbor dredging in the future again is bleak. Congress has not passed an appropriations bill for FY11 and will likely operate under Continuing Resolutions the rest of the year, with funding no greater than in FY10. Funding for recreational harbor dredging is extremely doubtful. Neither the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) Reform bills (S.3213, H.R.4844) or the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) passed. These bills had specific provisions for dredging Lake Ontario small harbors. And even though the Corps of Engineers lists Oak Orchard in need of dredging in 2011,there are no dredging projects funded for New York (even commercial harbors) in the president’s FY12 budget.
We’ll continue to work through the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition and support letters to our senators and representatives requesting they collectively support 1)a specific lump sum add for their harbors in the 2012 Appropriation, and 2)a 2011 WRDA that firewalls the HMTF and ensures the taxes collected each year are used 100% to maintain our federal harbors.
The group of counties along Lake Ontario is beginning work on a Regional Dredging Plan for small harbors (federal and non-federal). The Plan is funded by a $35,000 NYS Dept. of State grant. Our department has taken the lead and we kicked-off the project March 8 with a conference call among the partners and NYSDOS. A Project Advisory Committee will be formed, and shortly an RFP will be issued to retain a consultant to: review existing channel data and conditions; evaluate dredging technology, costs and material disposal; analyze economic impact of the harbors; and identify potential funding mechanisms. A public participation element will gather local input throughout the planning process. The Plan will be presented to our state and federal representatives as our regional priorities for funding.
Wayne Hale, Jr., Director
Orleans County Planning Dept.