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Mill Road Scenic Overlook is Protected | Environment

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Mill Road Scenic Overlook is Protected
Environment, News
Mill Road Scenic Overlook is Protected


The Friends of Mill Road, in partnership with the Western New York Land Conservancy and the Town of Aurora, are thrilled to announce that the Town of Aurora is now the proud owner of the 60-acre Mill Road Scenic Overlook. The Land Conservancy now holds a conservation easement on the property, protecting it for the benefit of the community in perpetuity. When the weather warms, a scenic overlook will be constructed, providing a safe pull-off for passing motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the views at this property. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow.

This Mill Road Scenic Overlook is one of the most iconic stops along the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway. It offers spectacular views across a broad valley, breathtaking in all four seasons with wildflowers in springtime, bright green meadows in summer, colorful foliage in fall, and snow-draped evergreens in winter. It is also home to important wildlife like the playful bobolink, a bird in decline that nests in the tall grasses on the property.

Former Town of Aurora Supervisor Jolene Jeffe, said, “I am proud to have been a part of this work. The Mill Road Scenic Overlook will remain part our town’s heritage for generations to come. It will become a regional destination for visitors looking to experience the outdoors, and will complement the emerging recreational tourism economy anchored by nearby Knox Farm State Park, county parks like Chestnut Ridge, Emery, and Hunters Creek, and many other wonderful local parks and nature preserves.”

This major community accomplishment follows a multi-year effort to raise more than $650,000 to protect the scenic property. This effort saw hundreds of donations come in from local individuals and businesses, as well as a $50,000 anonymous donation, $50,000 from Gerhard and Ellen Neumaier, and $200,000 from Scott Bieler and Kathy Lasher. Financial support also included $20,000 from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and $75,000 from the John R. Oishei Foundation. The project also received in-kind donations from William Schutt & Associates, LaBella Associates PC, Earth Dimensions, Inc., and C&S Engineers, Inc.

According to Friends of Mill Road Co-Chair Kathy Lasher, “This project exemplifies the community spirit of Western New York. It was championed by a volunteer citizens group, the Friends of Mill Road, and supported by the property owners, the Town of Aurora and the Land Conservancy. In the end, nearly all of the money for this project came from right here, from the people in our region.”

Nancy Smith, executive director of the Western New York Land Conservancy and co-chair of the Friends of Mill Road, said, “We are so grateful to the property owners, the Closses and the Sievenpipers, for allowing us to make the Mill Road Scenic Overlook a regional asset, and are thankful to all of the supporters from the community that made this possible. Preserving open spaces like this one contributes to our community’s high quality of life, environmental health and local economy. The Land Conservancy will continue to support efforts like this in Aurora and throughout the region.”

The Friends of Mill Road, a citizens’ group formed in 2010 to raise the funds needed to protect the Mill Road Scenic Overlook, will continue to meet regularly until after the scenic overlook is constructed. For more information about the Mill Road Scenic Overlook, please visit www.friendsofmillroad.org or contact Nancy Smith at 432-1777 or nancyrs@wnylc.org, or Kathy Lasher at 861-5498 or klasher@buffalo.com

The Western New York Land Conservancy is a not-for-profit land trust that protects over 5,500 acres of land including scenic vistas, forested lands, fragile natural ecosystems, lakefront shorelines and working farms across the eight counties of Western New York. For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, or to donate to the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.

The John R. Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building. The Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation.

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