Rail Trail opening targeted for June 4

Another step has been taken down the path to open the Albany County Rail Trail.

The County Legislature on Monday, May 9, unanimously voted to enter into an agreement with the Town of Bethlehem and the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to open a 1.9-mile section of the trail in the Town of Bethlehem.

It was the last legislative hurdle for the project, though there are some housekeeping measures to be taken care of before the portion of the trail running from Fireman's Park in Slingerlands to the Veteran's Park in Delmar. Volunteers have already cleared the trail, leaving just mowing, some drainage work and sign installations left to be done. A ribbon cutting is targeted for June 4, Trails Day.

We think the work will be done by that point without any problem, said MHLC Executive Director Jill Knapp.

Going on the trail before the opening will still be considered trespassing.

The county is trying to do the project with only grant money, and securing the $8 million for the whole 9-mile project has been a challenge. By having the MHLC take on insurance costs, using volunteer labor and having the town cover the mowing and other maintenance, opening the trail is promised to be cost neutral to the taxpayer.

A lot of the project cost would have to do with rehabilitating bridges and paving. This section of the trail has no bridges and will be unpaved. Knapp said she hopes the MHLC can identify another section of trail that would be easy to open, as well. ""

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