Nestled along 12 miles of pristine Lake Erie shoreline in the rural Southtowns of Erie County, the Town of Evans has long served as a popular recreational destination and summer respite for generations of Western New Yorkers. Despite the many beachgoers and boaters who regularly flock to the town for those summer months, the overall economic development of Evans has for the most part remained stagnant over the past few decades. Town officials have recently been making strides towards generating new opportunities for growth across multiple sectors of the local economy.
According to the town’s Director of Planning and Development Bill Smith, “The goal is to take greater advantage of our community’s unique assets, particularly those along the waterfront, to help attract new businesses, visitors and residents alike, while also protecting our natural resources and the overall rural character of the town.” The first step in achieving this goal, according to Smith, has been creating a strategic development plan for the future and securing the necessary funds to implement key projects.
With the financial support of partnering agencies across federal, state, county and local levels, the Town of Evans is now managing over $15 million in public infrastructure improvements to help support future development. Current capital projects include major repairs to the highly utilized Sturgeon Point Marina and Lake Erie Beach Park, major water system expansions at the site of the future Erie County Agricultural Business Park, and the continuation of the Shoreline Trail multi-use path that creates a safe and enjoyable connection between waterfront parks, neighborhoods, institutions and businesses.
Additionally, the town is currently partnering with the state and county on over $1 million in grant-funded planning and design initiatives, which will identify additional projects and programs to improve the economy, quality of life, and environmental conditions throughout Evans. One example is the Sturgeon Point Marina and Bluffs Master Plan (funded in part by the NYS Local Waterfront Revitalization Program) which will further develop the marina and its 68 acres of abutting uplands as a world-class, year-round recreational destination.
A combined roughly $16 million in fully funded capital projects and planning initiatives will soon translate into new private sector growth, more employment opportunities and additional public improvements for the Evans community.