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Making Connections… The Forks of the Ohio Regional Trails Symposium

This past Friday John Buerkle and Mike Kotyk attended this symposium which focused on advancing trail planning and development efforts in the Power of 32 region (www.powerof32.org), which includes PA, OH, WV, and Maryland.  The Symposium gave John and Mike an opportunity to rekindle relationships with former clients and friends, as well as participate in “Setting the Regional Trail Agenda”.

The Symposium brought together the “who’s who of trail development” within the four-state area.  It was a great opportunity for veterans to discuss how to expand the trails into a regional network and to tackle those difficult challenges.  It also was an excellent opportunity for new trail advocates to garner knowledge and support from those who “have been there and done that”.

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Mike enjoyed the opportunity to network as well as gain new knowledge related to asset based community development and economic impacts from trail development, as well as learning more about the development of the regional trail planning tool.

During the symposium, it became evident that the geographic area of the Power of 32 should include more counties as there are other opportunities to expand the regional trail network.  Presenters frequently referenced the Power of 32, 48, 64, or Power of 32×2.

John and Mike were happy to share their thoughts on bringing Chautauqua County, NY into the fold.  They are working on a trail feasibility study to connect Chautauqua Institution to Barcelona Harbor on Lake Erie.  The trail will eventually connect to the northern segment of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail (www.eriepittsburghtrail.org). This effort is being undertaken through the Westfield Development Corporation (www.westfieldny.com) and the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development (http://www.planningchautauqua.com) with the assistance of Pashek Associates.

Our current and past clients, as well as friends in trail community, present at the symposium included:

Jamestown, NY Plans for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Last night John Buerkle and Mike Kotyk presented a draft Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to local residents, cyclists, and city officials of Jamestown, NY.   A standing room only crowd packed the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center to review, discuss, and provide feedback on a draft of the City of Jamestown Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan.

John and Mike were extremely pleased with the turn out for this meeting.  30 to 40 members of the Hollyloft Cycling Team showed their support by taking time to stop by during their weekly Tuesday night ride.  A quick head count indicated that an additional 70 plus persons attended the meeting.  The high attendance really shows how Jamestown residents are interested in making walking and bicycling safer and more comfortable within the City.

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The Chautauqua County Health Network’s Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play is coordinating the plan to promote active transportation as a key component of healthy lifestyles. CHP is funded through the New York State Department of Health.

“We know that if the city is more walkable and bikeable, that will encourage the community to go out and be more active and we are focused on the public health aspect of chronic disease prevention,” said Janet Forbes, CHP project coordinator. “Having this plan in place is going to be helpful for substantiating the need for funding and what the next steps are.”

For more information about the meeting click here.
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