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Gap closed on Rail Trail repairs

New Scotland Town Board awards $4,500 to complete bridge work, open trail

— A bump in the road to opening another section of the Albany County Rail Trail has been cleared after New Scotland bridged a financial gap.

The New Scotland Town Board on Wednesday, Sept. 11, approved donating $4,500 to the Friends of the Rail Trail to complete bridge renovations to open up a section of the Rail Trail from Upper Font Grove Road to the Route 155 bridge. The county would not allow trail work to continue on this portion until necessary improvements were made to the Vly Creek bridge and Route 155 bridge.

Town Highway Superintendent Ken Guyer said this portion of the trail was only open to volunteers helping clear the trail, but that hasn’t stopped people from using it.

“It does got a lot of use,” Guyer said. “It sees a lot of walkers.”

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin said the funds could be drawn from the parkland set-aside fund. Developers building in the town pay into the account, which is reserved for park improvements.

“This thing is not going to get open unless we help, and for this amount of money, if it will get it open, I think we should do it,” Dolin said. “It doesn’t trouble me to help out getting the bridges fixed, because mostly people from this town will use those bridges.”

Dolin said the town “hardly uses” the set-aside funds.

In June 2012, the Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy reached an agreement with the town, Village of Voorheesville and Albany County to open a 2.4-mile section of the county’s Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail. In the summer of 2011, a 1.8-mile trail section was opened in Bethlehem through volunteer work and donated funds.

Friends of the Rail Trail member Scott Lewendon said “rather simple” improvements are needed at the Vly Creek bridge, including installation of a wood deck and railing system. Volunteers would complete this construction.

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