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Schenectady County trails get connected

Schenectady County officials are applauding the number of bike trail projects currently under way that will provide improved access and a more comprehensive trail system by linking many of the paths throughout the county.

The trail was broken in the county, said Ray Gillen, head of the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority. "It didn't connect, and there wasn't even any signage."

He said bikers coming from the west would end up in the Schenectady County Community College's parking lot near the Scotia Bridge on Route 50.

"People take this [bike route]. They ride across the state," said Gillen.

The first part of the trail work links SCCC's parking lot to the corner of State Street and Washington Avenue near the YWCA, creating a connection that leads right into the historic Stockade District of downtown Schenectady. This was funded with $400,000 in federal and state grants.

"The bike-hike trail has been a priority of mine, and we've consistently worked to improve the trail for the enjoyment of all Schenectady County residents," said Susan Savage, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature, D-Niskayuna, in a written statement. "By competing for and winning state and federal grants, we will be able to complete the trail for the first time linking the entire county, from Rotterdam to Niskayuna."

The second phase of the project will be funded by $1.7 million in federal stimulus money provided to the Canal Corporation to link the trail at the YWCA up Union Street with North Jay Street, just past the Little Italy neighborhood, past the new Golub Headquarters and Union College. It will connect with Niskayuna at the Rexford Bridge and Balltown Road. This 4.7-mile link will provide a seamless connection for riders from Rotterdam through Niskayuna to the Colonie town line. The work on this part of the project will begin in the fall and is expected to be finished some time in 2010.

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