Allegany County legislators suddenly moving on federal pandemic funds allocations

BREAKING: Allegany County, NY, is suddenly and rapidly moving projects to the forefront as it attempts to spend some $9 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) pandemic funds.

A proposal by Legislator Brooke Harris of Alfred, Board of Legislators vice-chair and chairman of its Ways and Means Committee, to spend $321,000 to create parking areas on six county forest lands was added this afternoon to the committee’s agenda for tomorrow.

The legislator had introduced the concept at last week’s Resource Management Committee to appropriate $53,500 for each of six sites identified as C. Horner, Dixon, Engle, Helmer/Neetz, Metz/Griffin, and Travis lots, comprising 1,272 acres within or bordering Towns of Allen, Almond, Angelica, Birdsall, Grove, and West Almond.

The proposal would create gravel public parking areas, signage and information kiosks, protective barriers related to accessing roads, and picnic areas/pavilions on the sites.

The improvements, according to Harris, are to enable access to county-owned public lands, increase outdoor recreational opportunities, expand awareness of the county’s WNY Wilds tourism brand, and encourage future trail development.

Another $5.5 million for economic development projects
The board’s Planning and Economic Development Committee also agreed in concept last week with another $5,535,652 in estimated expenditures which would include:

– $50,000 for a consultant-produced economic development strategic plan for the county.

– $5,148,700 for additional infrastructure at the Cross Roads development area adjacent to the Quicklee’s Travel Center on State Route 19, north of Belmont.

The first phase of $3,129,000 would install a county entrance road, waterline and water tank to create a shovel-ready site for a hotel, restaurants and commercial development.

The second phase of $2,019,600 would be for site development and installation of a wastewater system and line, with planning for electric and communications.

– $174,540 for engineering work associated with developing approximately 40 acres of “S Curves” property on County Road 20, approximately a mile west of State Route 19.

The site is described as being “prime for an industrial park, manufacturing, warehousing or shopping.”

– $162,412 to develop plans for storefront revitalization opportunities in Alfred, Almond, Andover, Angelica, Belfast, Belmont, Bolivar, Canaseraga, Cuba, Fillmore, Friendship, Richburg, Ruishford, Wellsville and Whitesville downtown areas.

Committee members voiced approval for having the county administrator proceed with next steps toward implementation.

Allegany County Fair Proposal
The board previously had received a proposal from the Allegany County Fair – New York for some $250,000 to $350,000 for paving of roadways and other improvements to the facility’s property in Angelica.

Some legislators had expressed interest in creating a facility with greater tourism attractiveness, including name entertainment shows.

No further action has been taken in regard to this activity.

The fair board also has requested $110,00 in next year’s budget to accomplish some of the improvements, an increase of $102,000 over prior year’s appropriations to the organization.

County Administrator Carissa Knapp told county legislators last week that it would need to determine where funds for capital projects come from, including the $7.5 million set aside the Board made last yea for economic development, ARPA funds, or regular county appropriations.

Other projects total some $400,000
As we reported in August, the county also had been considering three other projects of some $400,000 each which include:

– Aerial imagery of the entire county, last performed some 15 years ago, which would include the purchase of three flyovers across the county, one every other year.

The images are used by planning, economic development, public safety, 911, real property, GIS, public works, emergency management, hazard mitigation, and others, Knapp said.

The project would provide an opportunity to update the imagery and gain a higher resolution than past flights provided, with the first set needed this fall to enable the project to meet funds expenditure criteria.

The project has been discussed as being accomplished this fall when leaves are off the trees.

– Purchase of law enforcement records management software.

The current system has been operated for years by the state which is phasing it out, without replacements for local governments.

Sheriff Rick Whitney has proposed purchase of software with enough licenses to enable its use by other law enforcement agencies within the County.

Following purchase, local agencies would be billed back a pro rata share of annual maintenance costs.

– Installation of a buildings control system to operate heating, ventilating and air conditioning, fire suppression, fire alarms, and more among county buildings.

The current systems are older and are not integrated between structures, according to County Administrator Knapp, “leaving our buildings to operate on different systems.”

She noted, for example, that the County Office Building where the Board room is located is on a different system than the Courthouse, even though both buildings are joined together.

Rather than just updating the current system, the public works department is proposing purchase of an integrated system which will produce greater efficiencies in the future, according to the administrator.

Harris’ presentation on the forest lands proposal is available at, beginning at approximately 2:13 minutes.