Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announces work will begin to spruce up a 2.4-mile section of the Albany County Rail Trail, along with New Scotland Town Supervisor Tom Dolin, Voorheesville Mayor Rob Conway, Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy Executive Director Jill Knapp, and other public officials.
continued In May, the Voorheesville Community and School Foundation awarded the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy a $10,000 grant to help open the next section of the trail within Voorheesville and the Town of New Scotland. Members of the group said they gave the money because the rail trail has an important recreational use in the community.
The funding will mostly be used to purchase materials needed for safety improvements, including decking and railing over Vly Creek. Protective chain-link fencing will also be welded onto the bridge spanning Route 155.
Jill Knapp, executive director of the Conservancy, said the group would take over liability for the newest section, much like they did for the section opened last year in Bethlehem.
"We are really happy to be able to start on this 2.4-mile section this summer," said Knapp. "We truly hope that next year we can see progress on opening a section in the City of Albany."
The high cost of repairing or replacing eight bridges along the trail has been cited as a major hurdle to getting the entire trail opened.
“This is a very happy day for the residents of the Town of New Scotland,” said Town Supervisor Thomas Dolin. “We’re all look forward to the day when we can get on our bikes and ride into downtown Albany.”
Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway said the process of opening the newest section of the Rail Trail is a “prime example of governments working together for a community benefit.”
Parks & Trails New York, a leading nature advocacy group, has been involved in the county Rail Trail project since the ‘90s.
Project Director Martin Daley said each time a next section of the trail is opened, he sees a longtime vision becoming a reality.
“I grew up in the City Of Albany, so I’d ride my bike out here when I was a teenager and see the corridor and hear rumors about this someday becoming a trail,” he said. “It’s a real special moment for me to come out and see how close we are to making this happen and tell my young son he might be able to enjoy this in much the same way I dreamed it would happen.”
Volunteers are still needed for the project. Work will begin on Saturday, June 23. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy at 436-6346.