The following is a guest column from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
As the lazy, hazy days of summer arrive here in Erie County, residents will have ample opportunity to take stock of the investments we’ve made, in our parks as well as in our infrastructure, with examples of each to be found all around Erie County. Summer wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of our beautiful county parks or beaches, and while you are heading out there, you will most likely come across some of the numerous road work projects happening around the county. While many people are relaxing and enjoying vacations at this time of year, it’s a busy season in both the county’s parks and highway divisions, so this month, I will highlight what’s happening with them.
Improvements at Erie County parks have been system-wide and ongoing since I took office in January 2012, and residents can see our reinvigorated and refreshed parks for themselves when they visit. Just in the past two years, we have invested approximately $4.5 million in our parks, with another $2 million in improvements slated for 2014. New roofs, shelter repairs, comfort station upgrades, parking lot and road improvements and numerous other enhancements have been completed, throughout the system. The Grover Cleveland and Elma Meadows golf courses have received significant clubhouse repairs, along with course drainage upgrades, while Bennett and Wendt beaches have also received upgrades to comfort stations and facilities. Erie County’s park system is considered to be one of the finest in New York state, so I encourage all to spend some time reconnecting with nature right here in our backyard. You can find out much more about our parks, campsites and beaches and even reserve a shelter or campsite online by visiting www2.erie.gov/parks/.
Summer is also the season for road work, and residents will be happy to know that an extensive schedule of road repair is underway all across Erie County, including roads in urban, suburban and rural areas. Following the harsh winter of 2013-14, I increased the county’s road construction budget by $4.5 million to over $27 million, in order to get more projects done as quickly as possible, and highway division crews have been active in every district, addressing road issues as quickly as possible. In fact, over 60 individual projects are scheduled this year in 20 municipalities around the county, in addition to micro paving, patching, strip patching, and “oil and chip” operations taking place county-wide. Our local district engineers will be the “boots on the ground” in towns across the county, as they evaluate road conditions and allocate resources accordingly throughout the season, so expect to see road repairs happening near you this summer.
In keeping with that, I would like to thank residents for their patience as we undertake this extensive menu of road work, and also remind motorists to please practice safe driving skills and slow down in work zones.
Summer is truly a great season in Erie County, and I hope that yours is a safe and enjoyable one!