Village of Ellicottville 2018
Mayor John Burrell Takes Long View
Story by John Thomas
When it comes to looking at the new year, Village Mayor John Burrell strikes an optimistic tone. The biggest change for 2018 will be the creation of the Town/Village Director of Public works. The Village and Town’s engineering positions have been combined into a single entity. The signing of the inter-municipal agreement in a week or two will make it official. “My personal goal is to work very closely with Matt McAndrew and the Town on setting up our new Town/Village Engineering Department. Setting up the umbrella that will take care of all Town and Village public works will be a major task for the whole year.” He mentions the grant the town won for setting up the office. (See New Year for Town story).
Other projects are on the horizon for the Mayor. The sidewalks along Monroe will come in for some attention. Already the trees along the west side of Monroe between Washington and Elizabeth have been removed making ready for new designs of sidewalks and boulevards to be installed. The exact plan has yet to be determined, and the Mayor says, “It will be a test area. We’re going to do a couple of different things to see what works.” The plans will be finished in the spring, and the first phase will be sent out for bid. Mr. Burrell mentions a new type of bed material that will allow some grass to be planted in the boulevard. Public input will be taken to see which approach appeals to people. Whichever proves most successful will likely be utilized in other parts of Monroe, Washington, and other Village streets.
Looking further down the road Burrell mentions a project he has discussed with the Town Supervisor. They want to bring 1,000 new jobs to both the Town and Village in the next ten years. At one time Ellicottville was host to numerous manufacturing jobs, but as the factories closed or moved away, so did the people. “We’ve gone from, in the 1950 census, having 1200 full-time people (residents) in the Village to having, in the 2010 census, 379 people. We need full-time people; we need ambulance staff, we need fire staff, we need people to be on various Village and Town boards.” The jobs they have in mind are not recreation oriented, but more aligned with the tech industry. “There are millennials out there, that are working on a new app, that might love to be here, skiing and snowboarding, hiking and mountain biking.” He mentions the possibility of creating a business incubator that might lure the owners of large companies to establish satellite offices here. “We’ve got the recreation to offer, we’ve got the schools to offer, we’ve got the community, the restaurants, and the shops.” The Mayor admits it will not be easy, “It’s a very big challenge and a very robust idea.” But, at the same time, he seems to feel Ellicottville is a community that could pull it off. “We are blessed to have what we have.”