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Voorheesville loses bid for Rail Trail grant

Village officials to pursue funding options; county sets goal to pave pathway

— Voorheesville isn’t receiving funding local officials sought to enhance its end of the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, but their vision is still in focus.

Earlier this month, Voorheesville officials learned the village’s application seeking $1.3 million of federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding was denied. Village Mayor Robert Conway said the denial was partially hinged on some items not being “transportation related.” The bid sought funding to slightly extend the trail and create additional parking and amenities, along with building a museum.

Applying for the grant did form a master plan for Voorheesville’s trailhead, which Conway is not ready to set aside.

“The fact that the money went away doesn’t mean that the ideas go away,” Conway said. “It might happen on a slower time schedule, but I think ultimately that will still be our goal.”

Conway expressed some some frustration over Voorheesville’s application being completely denied.

“The application was pretty exhaustive,” said Conway. “Our feeling is, red line the things that aren’t transportation-related and consider the ones that are, but that’s apparently not the way they operate.”

The village would have been responsible for covering 20 percent of the cost, or $260,000, if it was awarded the TAP grant. Local officials were looking to use in-kind services for its contribution.

This year, the village is planning to tackle a few smaller projects. Conway is looking to clear out and extend the trail from where it ends at Voorheesville Avenue to Grove Street. At the Pine Street trail entrance, he hopes to start clearing out a pathway to the trail.

Conway said the trail even gets a “fair amount” of use in the winter, and he expects this will likely increase this year.

To provide further enhancements, the village is looking at trying to receive grant funding in future years.

Long-term goals of its master plan include constructing an overlook tower with restroom facilities and constructing a railroad museum across the street from it. This would include roughly 50 paved parking spaces at the new trailhead off Grove Street, which wouldn’t require removing any trees.

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Comments

Zed_Fechten 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Honestly, I think some of the ideas, while possibly worthwhile, were a bad fit for a transportation grant.

They should have come up with a plan to integrate the trail into the community, with bike lanes (if they would fit) and sidewalks on the streets leading to the trail, and guide signs leading thirsty trail users to the Village's shops.

It could be a village wide program, including safer crosswalks to the elementary school, and a sidewalk on County Route 208 to complete the Prospect- Main Street-Voorheesville Ave-Maple-Altamont Road sidewalk loop, and so forth.

A lot of kids live within walking distance of the elementary school. If they could walk there safely, it would save busing costs. Also, research shows that kids who walk or bike to school do better in class.

A comprehensive plan like that would have a better chance of getting approved.

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