ARCADIA — On Monday, crews were landscaping around the new parking area on the east side of Whitbeck Road — an area along the Erie Canal trail that Arcadia Highway Superintendent Dave Harder believes will become one of the premier places for trail users along the waterway.
It was about 10 years ago that the town constructed a small parking and rest area for residents using the trail on the west side of Whitbeck Road, offering plenty of parking for those wishing to walk or ride the popular section of trail between Newark and Palmyra. This past spring, a newly constructed road heading west away from Whitbeck Road on the canal’s north side was installed by Dolomite Products Co. after the company purchased the nearby gravel pit from Abram Cleason Co. Inc. Dolomite expanded the gravel pit to develop a sand and gravel plant, which included a road to give tractor trailer trucks easy access to the plant off Whitbeck Road. Unfortunately, the road also landlocked access to the trail parking and rest area, Harder said.
For safety reasons, Harder said the town decided to move the parking area to the east across Whitbeck Road. Crews began working this spring and summer, but the project was put on hold to complete the trail through the village of Newark to Lyons. Then in October, work started again. The Wayne County Highway Department helped the cause, hauling 20 tons of asphalt to blacktop the new parking area last week, and crews finished another project along the canal.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” Harder said. “It’s pretty much wrapped up. Next year, we’ll just have maintenance.”
As Arcadia Highway crews were working on the parking area, Dan Craine, heading the Lyons Dry Docks, had crews laying large stones called rip rap along the shoreline to prevent erosion. The Canal Corporation also helped crews lower the trail under the bridge to allow for bicyclists — an area town equipment couldn’t reach, Harder said.
Harder complimented highway foreman Dan Pullen.
“I couldn’t have a better man in there than Dan,” Harder said of his second in command. “He did all the work just like on the canal trail from start to finish.”
Harder also noted the help from Dolomite, and in particular, Chris McKlurg. The company donated all the stone and blacktop for the parking. He said McKlurg has been “great to work with,” Harder added. The only cost to the town proved minimal for fuel and some manhours, Harder said.
Final touches at the parking area will include striping and the installation of a safety fence along the parking area and the canal.