Trails Get a Boost

Trail projects from around the state received an early holiday present with the announcement of the Regional Economic Development Council’s 2018 award in December. More than $2.7 million was awarded to projects involving the construction or improvement of multi-use trails in just about every region of the state, building off the momentum generated by ongoing construction of the Empire State Trail. These awards reflect an understanding and appreciation by communities all around New York that trails, and the many riders who use them, are a great form of economic development for local communities.

In the Village of Newark, $150,000 will be used to improve the Erie Canalway Trail. The funding will allow Newark to pave portions of the Erie Canalway Trail, increasing both user friendliness and recreational access. Period lighting fixtures, previously erected on Main Street, will be re-purposed to illuminate the trail, allowing for extended and more secure use. With the ongoing bicentennial of the Erie Canal, Newark has been hosting a variety of community events, gatherings and programs highlighting the Canal’s significance. This project will encourage more people to come see all the great offerings that Newark has along the Canalway Trail!

A number of projects also received funding on the strength of their connection with and/or enhancement of the Empire State Trail. The Northern Slate Valley Rail Trail will help close a gap between two existing sections of trail that span the New York and Vermont borders, and will help connect northeastern Washington County to the Empire State Trail in Whitehall. The Saw Kill Link Trail in Red Hook will connect the Village of Red Hook with the Empire State Trail at Bard College. Additional projects that connect to or tie in with the Empire State Trail received funding in Kingston, Montezuma, and Rouses Point.

Across the state, the value of trail projects and the potential economic benefits to be created through funding trail and bicycle-related infrastructure have been recognized by these Regional Economic Development Councils. The many projects to be funded through this latest round of grants will strengthen the state's recreational trail network, bringing cyclists and other users to trails across the state! The great momentum from these efforts will continue with the completion of the Empire State Trail in 2020 as New York claims it's place as the country's leader in multi-use trails.

Trail projects receiving funding through the Regional Economic Development Councils include:

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  • Village of Newark - Village Trail Connector ($150,000) - The village of Newark will improve about 1.6 miles of Erie Canalway Trail that is currently too narrow, unpaved, lacks way-finding signage and is susceptible to erosion. The trail will be widened to meet national design standards and be outfitted with lighting between the Edgett Road Bridge to the Port of Newark and downtown business district. Safety barriers will be installed along with new benches and bike racks. Measures will also be taken for slope and erosion control protection.
  • Town of Granville - Northern Slate Valley Rail Trail ($250,000) - The Town of Granville will construct a northern segment of the Slate Valley Rail Trail linking miles of family friendly, accessible trail with points north and south of the Village of Granville. The trail is envisioned as an indispensable link that will ultimately connect northeastern Washington County with the Empire State Trail in Whitehall, New York; and with the D&H Rail Trail north linking in through Hampton New York to Poultney/Castleton and south to Pawlet/Rupert Vermont.
  • Winnakee Land Trust - Saw Kill Link Trail Project ($500,000) - Winnakee Land Trust will design and construct a crushed stone, non-motorized multi-modal trail that will connect the Village of Red Hook to Bard College, the Empire State Trail and the Hudson River on lands adjacent to the Saw Kill.
  • Western New York Land Conservancy, Inc. - DL&W Linear Park and Multi-Use Trail Design ($369,000) - The Western New York Land Conservancy, Inc. will complete the third phase of the DL&W Linear Park and Trail project, concept and schematic designs. The goal of this project is to transform an abandoned rail corridor into a linear park and multi use trail, while accommodating potential light-rail expansion. The corridor connects downtown Buffalo at Canalside to the Buffalo River while travelling through the Old First Ward.
  • City of Fulton - Fulton Canal Corridor Multi-Use Trail ($900,000) - This project will help construct two multi-use trails along the Oswego Canal, the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail and the Canalview Bridge Walk Trail. It will build upon work already completed in Fulton, such as the Indian Point Landing gazebo as well as the downtown Canal Landing marina, gazebo and park, to increase recreational opportunities, support tourism and spur economic growth. Construction will include trail paving, kiosks, lighting, site furnishings, landscaping and interpretive pane.
  • Otsego County Conservation Association - Otsego County Trails Project ($102,401) The Otsego County Conservation Association will build and enhance multi-use trails at four locations in Otsego County that will provide valuable year-round recreational activities and promote viable, vibrant communities.
  • Village of Schoharie - Schoharie Creek Trail and Public Access Improvements ($506,500) - The Village of Schoharie will implement its Schoharie Creek Waterfront Recreational Assets Plan by constructing a 1.75-mile trail along the creekside with connections to Main Street businesses, creating two new parking lots, and developing the Village's first canoe/kayak launch. The new launch will create a 2- mile blueway trail between the Village and Central Bridge.

Other projects receiving funding with a trail component:

  • City of Lackawanna - Veterans Stadium Rehabilitation Project ($465,445) - The City of Lackawanna will expand on the current Veteran's Stadium to provide year-round recreational opportunities. The park upgrades will include the construction of a year-round synthetic ice rink, new pavilion, and multi-use trail with five pieces of fitness equipment to be installed along the paved path.
  • The Nature Conservancy - Moss Lake Preserve Planning Initiative ($20,100) - The Nature Conservancy will develop construction planning documents for trail upgrades at the Moss Lake Preserve in Caneadea to meet US Forest Service Trail Accessibility Guidelines and create design plans for new signage. Upgrades to the preserve include repair of unsafe trail infrastructure, improvements to parking area, and regrading trail that connects parking area to boardwalk.
  • City of Rochester - Completion of Priority Bicycle Boulevards ($250,000) - The City of Rochester will complete construction of the last 10 miles of its Priority Bicycle Boulevard network as described in the 2015 Bicycle Boulevard Master Plan. These bicycle boulevards connect to a fast growing network of bike lanes, protected lanes, multi-use trails, and shared use lanes that provide seamless continuity for users, encouraging more trips to be taken by bicycle and reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Village of Fairport - Fairport Bicentennial Canal Gateway Project ($450,000) - The Village of Fairport will create an ADA accessible formalized waterfront park, which celebrates the Erie Canal’s and Village’s history and improves water access for all users. On the north bank, new ADA-accessible docks will be installed, along with an accessible kayak launch, regraded boat ramp, observation desk, way-finding, an information kiosk and new lighting and landscaping. Enhancements along the south bank include a new park that will feature an interpretive heritage trail to celebrate the Erie Canal bicentennial. The trail will connect to existing pathways in Kennelley Park and to downtown neighborhoods via an extended sidewalk network.
  • City of Ithaca - Ithaca Waterfront Access ($29,575) - The City of Ithaca will partner with a private developer, City Harbor LLC, to improve the Cayuga Lake waterfront. The project will include housing, a restaurant on the point across Cascadilla Creek, seawall construction and new boat slips. Ithaca will also develop a public promenade, a connector path to the Ithaca Waterfront Trail and electric car charging.
  • Town of Montezuma - Montezuma Heritage Park Improvement Project ($147,425) - The Town of Montezuma will develop a parking lot on the northern portion of the Montezuma Heritage Park, where the park connects with the NYS Canalway Trail on NYS Route 31. In addition to parking, there will also be a waterless handicapped accessible bathroom installed and a directional kiosk to assist visitors in finding the historic aspects of the park. These improvements will greatly enhance the experience of those visiting the remains of the four canal systems and the Richmond Aqueduct.
  • Village of Ilion - Steele Creek Bank Stabilization and Floodplain Restoration Design ($667,931) - The Village of Ilion will design a reconfiguration of 2,030 linear feet of Steele Creek to increase flood flow conveyance capacity and reduce flooding within the village. The project will implement the Mohawk River Watershed Management Plan and include bank and floodplain restoration, buffer installation and weir removal. It will protect public infrastructure and private housing, providing flood mitigation, recreational trails, climate resilience and stormwater management.
  • Erie Canalway Heritage Fund Inc Canalway Water Trail - Directional and Wayfinding Signage ($95,359) - Signage under this project will identify water trail access points, historic sites and canal infrastructure that can be visited during a water trip and facilities for the entire Canal System. Signs will display a custom logo of the water trail along with directional arrows where necessary. They will complement the release of a new guidebook, a navigational map set and website updates that will identify launch points and trail blazers.
  • Village of Rouses Point - Rouses Point Park Revitalization ($213,000) - The Village of Rouses Point will renovate its playgrounds, baseball, softball and soccer fields, resurface tennis courts, increase parking, and add amenities for the northern hub of the Empire State Trail. The goal is to bring park safety up to acceptable standards, provide residents with a quality recreation experience they deserve, and enhance the Village’s aesthetics, community pride and tourism opportunities.
  • City of Cohoes - Hudson River Waterfront Park Design ($79,000) - The City of Cohoes will advance its Urban Waterfront Rediscovery Plan goal of creating waterfront access by designing a new public park on Van Schaick Island along the Hudson River. The park will feature a boat launch, docking, greenspace, seating, lighting, shoreline stabilization, parking and a pathway connecting to the Black Bridge Trail.
  • City of Watervliet - Hudson Shores Park Shoreline Stabilization & Improvements ($511,700) - The City of Watervliet will implement a recommendation of their 2006 Local Waterfront Revitalization Program by making improvements to their nine-acre Hudson Shores Park. The project will include shoreline stabilization, management of invasive species and installation of native plantings, construction of ADA-accessible trails, riverfront access improvements, an amphitheater, and installation of new playground equipment and benches.
  • City of Kingston - City of Kingston Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan ($60,000) - The City of Kingston will prepare a comprehensive citywide pedestrian and bicycle master plan. The plan will inventory and assess all existing sidewalks and bike paths and perform an equity-demand analysis and a gap analysis to identify a cohesive non-motorized transportation network that, when completed, will link neighborhoods and business areas together, as well as to the Kingston Greenline and the Empire State Trail.
  • Hudson River Maritime Museum - Rondout Riverport Phase 2 ($430,000) - The Hudson River Maritime Museum will enhance the visitor experience at the Riverport by making walkway improvements, improving energy efficiencies, adding solar capacity, improving the museum facade, grounds and streetscape and integrating connections to the Kingston Greenline and Empire State Trail.


Category: Empire State Trail

About The Author

Dylan Carey

Dylan Carey is the Project Director for Parks & Trails New York