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Larry and Gretel Laing

For over 50 years, Larry and Gretel Laing have called West Falls home. They raised their four children there and welcomed seven grandchildren as well as nine great-grandchildren to their lovely spot adjacent to Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail.

For many years, Larry worked for Thruway Builders at both their Orchard Park and Cheektowaga locations. He later retired from Sorento Cheese (now Lactalis American). In addition to raising children, Gretel found time to work for physician’s offices in the Southtowns.

When they first learned Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail had become managers of the former rail corridor located behind their home, and that plans were in the works to build a trail, they were apprehensive, to say the least. “Our property backs right up to the railroad, and we were against it. We thought the worst. What about our privacy? What about safety?”

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Like so many people on trails across the country, Larry and Gretel soon found they had nothing to fear and, in fact, they have become big trail supporters. “We walk the trail all the time,” notes Gretel. “It’s become such an asset to have a trail like this so close. Both the grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy it. It’s like having your own private nature path.”

Larry, meanwhile, keeps busy mowing and maintaining the trail. “I keep the section behind us clear, and then I’ll mow all the way from Old Glenwood to the West Falls Depot. It’s a nice walk, and we meet such nice people on the trail. You see folks walking with their dogs and with their kids. It’s good for wildlife, too. It’s been wonderful.”

The couple would like to see the surface improved in the future so even more people can enjoy walking and biking on the trail. 

Larry, meanwhile, could use our help. “My legs aren’t what they used to be, and so I’m looking to get ahold of a used golf cart for trail maintenance.” So, here’s a shout-out to our readers — let’s help Larry find that golf cart!

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