BUSTI - The Busti-Lakewood Bike and Fitness Trail was the center of discussion at Busti's town board meeting Monday.
While there was an overwhelming amount of support for the construction of a bike trail, both residents and board members had concerns over the monetary investment and possible future complications. Currently the project is estimated to cost $1.6 million with a grant matching most of the total cost. This means Busti would have to put up $400,000 for the project over the next five years.
"It's been a year I think I've been working on this and pulling things together," Kenneth Lawton, Busti councilman said. "There really isn't a good spot for kids to ride their bikes. I think that's really a big deal."
Jesse Robbins, Busti supervisor, wanted to know what would happen upon approval of the application if the town doesn't want to spend taxpayer money.
Joel Seachrist, attorney for the town, said there are other steps the board has to take in regard to contracts, and he does not believe the state can force Busti to spend money. Seachrist also said the monetary amount doesn't need to come from the town - it can come from other sources such as fundraisers. He also pointed out the town could use in-kind services by having the highway department work on the trail.
Todd Hanson, Busti councilman, asked what would happen if they were only able to raise half of the funds. Lawton said if money was raised, but the town didn't receive matching funds, it would be kept in the safekeeping of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, which would be for bike trail usage only, whenever the trail does get built.
Even though there is a monetary risk for the construction of a bike trail, there are also potential benefits. Bicyclists and pedestrians would be coming to Busti to use the trail. Seachrist pointed out this would create opportunities for entrepreneurs to cater to bikers.
Councilman Richard Thor said after some calculations based on other communities with bike and fitness trails, about $60 is put into the local economy for every person who comes to use the trails.
The possibility for feeder trails - which would connect to the main trail which would run from Cummins Engine to Wal-Mart along the railroad - are also being taken into consideration.
The board passed the resolution unanimously with Robbins making note that he was only voting yes "in stipulation that this cannot become a problem with taxpayer dollars."