A beautiful new trail in the Village of Churchville was dedicated on Saturday, October 20, 2012. This trail starts at Howard Avenue, follows the former West Shore Railroad, crosses Buffalo Road and continues into the Monroe County Park. It does not just happen on its own…but takes the vision, dedication, funding and sweat of many.
Here is the story of how this trail came about and those responsible for it.
Former West Shore Railroad
- History of this railroad is located on one side of the kiosk. Please do take time to read it.
- This actually started several years ago when the Village of Churchville, Town of Riga, Village and Town of Bergen did a feasibility study on a trail from Churchville to Elba along the former West Shore Tracks. In that study, the Village of Churchville was to be the trailhead of this trail. We were excited about the concept and started the West Shore Trail Committee to start talking about what the trailhead would consist of.
- At the end of the feasibility study, for different reasons, the communities did not continue forward with the trail.
- However, we were still excited about the concept. We are a walkable community and this property was owned by the Village of Churchville and was in need of ‘dressing up’ – so we continued. The West Shore Trail committee did information studies, produced a CD to promote the trail, made a mock-up of the trailhead and generally kept us all looking forward to this new addition to our community. Thank you to the committee led by Trustee John Hartman.
- And then along came our opportunity to apply for some grants to assist with the funding.
NYS Parks and Recreation Grant
- This grant application takes the support of our State, County and Town representatives.
From Stuart Brown Associates the grant was written by Ed Flynn using much of the information from the prior feasibility study.
- We were awarded an $82,550 grant from NYS Parks and Recreation to build the trailhead and our portion of the trail. Village Clerk Meghan Lodge worked with Karen Ferguson from the NYS Parks and Recreation Regional Office to insure that we followed the grant guidelines.
Community Development Block Grant
- We also applied to the County of Monroe Department of Planning and Development for a Community Development Block Grant and received a $60,000 grant to fund the comfort station and to meet all ADA requirements.
- Now with the needed funding, we could start building the trail. The trail design was completed by engineers Ed Parrone and Carl Hewings from Parrone Engineers.
- We were ready to start moving dirt.
- The Village DPW under the supervision of Paul Robinson built the trail, kiosk, helped with sign design and installed lighting along one portion of the trail.
County of Monroe permitted the trail to be continued across the road onto parkland.
- Shirley Mark, Landscape Gardner from Roberts Wesleyan College kindly gave of her knowledge, expertise and time to help us select the trees and shrubs for this trail. We needed plant selection that would provide screening along the residential area of the trail, the plants needed to be deer resistant and offer color during different times of the year.
- We now have flowering Japanese Lilac trees, Arrowwood Viburnum, Colorado Spruce and Rugosa roses.
- We are so fortunate to have residents in this community who care about our community and share in the excitement of our plans…and one such resident is our very own Dr. Nancy Perkins Weyl. This beautiful landscaping was made possible by a $10,000 gift from her to the Village of Churchville. Approximately 150 trees and shrubs have been planted along this trail with this generous gift.
- Dilcher Excavating and Construction built the comfort station.
- The comfort station has been made to look similar to a train depot with a replica of the sign that hung on the train depot in the Village of Churchville. The actual sign is located in the Village Office building.
- Please note the drinking fountain for the walkers and for our four-legged walking companions.
- Benches offer places to rest and enjoy the beauty of the trail
Over the years the trail has become a focal point of the village. The original stone-dust path has been upgraded and paved, making access easier for all, with authentic signals adding to the experience.
The Harvey C. Noone American Legion with help from the local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops have planted daffodils in remembrance of those who have served our country. In full bloom in the spring, the sight of hundreds of bright white and yellow flowers is a beautiful tribute of sacrifices made, and a reminder of hope and renewal.
The village Heritage Tree Program has planted several trees along the trail to recognize past employees and volunteers who have made significant contributions to the success and growth of the village.
In early 2021, CSX contacted the village about donating a caboose. We jumped at the chance, and in August of that year it was delivered and set in place taking its rightful place as the jewel of the West Shore Trail. In June of 2022 it was professionally painted in its original Chessie System colors, just as it looked when it rolled off the assembly line in the 1980’s. It has quickly been noticed by the rail-fan community, drawing visitors from all over the western NY region.
Just a point of interest – for those familiar with Geocaching – there is a Geocache located on this trail called “Leap onto the West Shore” which has brought many visitors from miles around to enjoy our trail. See if you can find it, but beware of Muggles.