ALBANY – The Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway (WNYSSB), which runs through southern Erie County, has now been expanded into northern Cattaraugus County.
Following the passage of Senate Bill 5326/Assembly Bill 7713 this year, the legislation sponsored by Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I- Olean) and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio (R,C,I- Gowanda) was delivered to Governor Cuomo and has now been signed into law. The new law adds 37 miles to the existing 71-mile byway, bringing added attention to Cattaraugus County’s resources, increased community pride, and a boost to the local economy.
“Cattaraugus County has myriad natural resources, historical locations, and recreational opportunities that are a draw for tourists. Expansion of the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway will provide another avenue to showcase the community to residents and visitors alike. The byway’s expansion will also inject a boost into the region’s economy as shops and restaurants along the route see an uptick in visitors,” said Senator Young.
“Tourism plays a vital role in New York State’s economy. The Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway has already been successful in promoting events across Southern Erie County, and now it will act as a gateway to adventure for those who visit Cattaraugus County, providing the opportunity for no two experiences to be the same. I thank the NYSDOT Scenic Byway Advisory Board, the members of the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway committee, the many area businesses involved with the WNYSSB, and our local officials for their dedicated efforts to secure the expansion of the scenic byway,” said Senator Young.
“The Scenic Byway extension into Cattaraugus County will enhance and promote our tourism and travel industry and is certainly a welcome benefit to our region,” said Assemblyman Joseph Giglio. “I’m proud to have worked with Senator Young, the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway Coalition and the Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byway Advisory Board to develop legislation and extend the byway into my district. The magnificent foothills of the Allegheny Mountains along the byway route in Cattaraugus County will attract additional visitors and help create economic opportunities. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation into law.”
“This Scenic Byway now encompasses the heart of the Southtowns, and in my opinion the heart of all of Western New York. We are grateful for the support of Senator Young, Senator Gallivan, and Assemblyman Giglio. Two other gentlemen graciously supported this expansion and the Byway since its inception Assemblyman DiPietro and Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills. This effort began with a meeting of business and government leaders which was arranged by Brian McFadden, Executive Director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. His support of our vision was a key to the expansion,” said Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway President Robert Lennartz.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, “Congratulations to Senator Young, Assemblyman Giglio and to the residents and visitors of Cattaraugus County on the expansion of The Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway. Promoting tourism has been a top priority of Governor Cuomo’s administration, and we’re proud to partner in projects which showcase our great state and improve our economy.”
The legislation was also supported by representatives from Southern Erie County who have seen the byway’s positive impact on their communities.
“Western New York has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty and points of interest. Expansion of the Southtowns Scenic Byway is a wonderful way to better promote our communities and to attract more visitors to the region. The logical extension of the byway to include Cattaraugus County is good news for businesses, towns and villages along the entire route,” said Senator Patrick Gallivan (R,C,I- Elma).
“From my time as the Mayor of East Aurora through today as a Member of the New York State Assembly, I have fought for the expansion of the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway,” said Assemblyman Dave DiPietro (R,C-East Aurora). “From 2002 on, WNYSSB President Robert Lennartz brought our towns in, and we worked toward a shared goal of creating a scenic byway throughout our communities. This expands on the dream we all shared when we started meeting informally over a decade ago. I’m proud to have been part of the expansion of the tourism economy here in Western New York.”
Visitors who travel on the existing byway pass through the towns of Aurora, Boston, Colden, Concord, Orchard Park and the villages of East Aurora, Orchard Park and Springville. The expanded byway now incorporates portions of US Route 219, State Route 240, and State Route 242 within the Towns of Ashford and Ellicottville, and the Village of Ellicottville. Municipalities along the route will use the expansion to leverage public-private partnerships between citizens, businesses, and public officials to promote sporting competitions, artistic festivals, and other events and attractions in the area.
A formal event to promote the expansion of the byway will be held in spring 2016. Additional information on the byway can be found at http://wnyssb.org/ or by visiting https://www.facebook.com/scenicbyway.