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ECIDA shares options for Shoreline Bike Trail extension

A view of the former steel site from the lakeshore bike path.

The pace of development at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna is picking up, with a major new project to be finished this summer and the latest proposal to connect a bike path to Woodlawn Beach State Park in Hamburg. After decades, there’s major work underway. Millions of public and private dollars are being spent.

Some of the work is pretty mundane, like extending Lackawanna’s Dona Street onto the steel plant site, but that allowed sewer and water lines to be built for use by new development. TMP is expected to open its vast new industrial chemicals plant this summer and Uniland is in the regulatory process on a large warehouse complex for the site.

During a virtual meeting Tuesday evening, LaBella Consultant Edward Flynn talked about the Shoreline Bike Trail extension.

"The Shoreline trail now goes all the way from the City of Tonawanda, near the Erie County border with Niagara County, all the way down the Niagara River, down Lake Erie and goes all the way to Dona Street in Lackawanna. So there’s a gap between Dona Street in Lackawanna and Woodlawn Beach State Park, which is in Hamburg," he said.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency wants to extend the bike path to the park by one of a series of possible routes. Flynn said costs will vary by route.

"You might need to have different sections that could be fundable by those programs. But if you look at all the different costs, the trail costs go anywhere from just below $5 million to just under $9 million for the 3A option," Flynn said. "But with all of those different options, we also looked at potential funding opportunities."

The favored plan wanders around the old steel plant, including several pedestrian bridges over intervening creeks, and along a berm that would provide a view of Lake Erie.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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