Halfmoon gets money for trail

The Town of Halfmoon is set to receive $200,000 in federal funds to extend its Champlain Canal Trail, thanks to grants being distributed through the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

There will be $3.3 million going around the state to improve recreational trails. In Halfmoon, the grant will cover design and construction of the southern third of the trail, extending the existing two miles from Brookwood Road to roughly the Waterford town line. It will be a stone dust trail about 8 to 10 feet in width, said Halfmoon Grant Coordinator Nelson Ronsvalle.

If we're fortunate, we may be able to have construction take place in 2010, but more likely it will be finished in 2011, he said.

According to Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the 32 projects were selected to help improve the public's access to trails. Many were turned down.

"There are a lot of good projects out there that need funding, and it's difficult to single them out," said Keefe.

Once completed, Halfmoon's portion of the trail is to run 7 miles north to south. It will eventually connect with Mechanicville and Waterford, creating a lengthy recreational thoroughfare.

"When you make those links to those population centers, that trail is really going to see some use," said Ronsvalle.

The New York State Canal Corporation eventually hopes to link the Champlain Canal Trail to the Buffalo-to-Albany trail.

Other grants through the Department of State and the Hudson River Valley Greenway to design and develop a waterfront park on the Hudson River may also benefit future users of the Champlain Canal Trail, as the park will be located at the end of Brookwood Road.

"We have a future phase to connect that waterfront park to the Champlain Canal Trail," said Ronsvalle.

Plans for the upper third of Halfmoon's Champlain Canal Trail haven't advanced past the preliminary stages, but there are other endeavors that are moving forward. The town recently opened its Crescent Trail running along the old Erie Canal corridor, which will eventually join up with trails in Clifton Park.""

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