(JAMESTOWN, NY)  The inaugural Chautauqua Gran Fondo event that took place on August 29, 2015, was a huge success that brought in hundreds of people and thousands of dollars for local organizations.  “These are charities of special interest to our local organizers,” said Michelle Turner, VP of Marketing for the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA). Of the local organizations is the LoCo Rail Trail set to receive $4,000 from proceeds of the event.  The other charities that will be receiving donations include Habitat for Humanity and the Wounded Warrior Project.  “We plan to select three different charities every year after this,” Turner said. 

The LoCo Rail Trail is a multi-use bike and walking trail set to run adjacent to WNYP rail corridor in the lower part of Chautauqua County.  The first phase of the trail is a 4.1 mile path in the Busti/Lakewood area, spanning from Cummins to the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.  While the trail is currently a dirt path, there are hopes of paving to provide safety to the riders and walkers. The trail would be open year round and free to the public while providing a safe environment away from motorists to enjoy exercise and the scenery of Chautauqua County. 

The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $1,993,369.  NYS Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) requires 20% in local matching funds to be able to go forth with the proposal.  Donations and contributions are being sought to raise as much as possible of the 20% match.  Donations are welcome and appreciated by the LoCo Rail Trail to help fund this project, and create a community resource for all to enjoy.  For more information or to make a donation, visit

Jason Bussman