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Joe Higgins

Joe Higgins graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in chemical engineering.  He then was employed by Union Carbide for 15 years.  In 1975 he moved back to the area and purchased Abbott Machine Shop, which he converted to Abbott Welding Supply.  He ran this successful business until about 2010, at which time he sold the business to Airgas and retired.  Joe is a past president of the Allegany School Board and is currently First Vice Chairman of the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency.

Joe and his wife Cecily, while visiting their children at their colleges, were able to experience some beautiful trails along various waterways.  Realizing that we also had a beautiful river in the Olean, Allegany and Portville area, we invited local legislators and others, in July of 1992, to a lunch where we outlined our idea for trails in the area.  After many hurdles, but no real roadblocks, the 5.6 mile Allegheny River Valley Trail was completed in October of 1998.  It includes almost 3 miles along the river between Olean and Allegany that has no road crossings. 

Most of the trail is on privately owned land.  This challenge required that we obtain numerous signed leases between the landowners and the communities involved. 

Our master plan for trails received the 1998 Outstanding Planning Project, Planning Implementation from the New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Joe is also the chairman of the advisory committee for the trail and the one who takes the orders for bricks and monuments, gets them engraved and then installed in the Allegany Plaza and Olean Plaza.  This helps to provide funds for the maintenance of the trail.

Many, many people helped at critical times during those six years from idea to reality. 

Today it is used by people of all ages in all seasons and everyone is always smiling along the way.

Joe, who recently turned 80, and Cecily are thoroughly enjoying their retirement by, among other things, hiking the Allegheny River Valley Trail often!