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Voorheesville eyes $1.3M grant for rail trail project

Village officials finalize plan, target state funds for enhancing trail’s end

The map shows overlays of the Rail Trail project Voorheesville officials are seeking funding to complete, along with an example of the overlook tower and possible museum building design.

The map shows overlays of the Rail Trail project Voorheesville officials are seeking funding to complete, along with an example of the overlook tower and possible museum building design. Photo by John Purcell.

— Village officials are targeting grant funding to enhance its end of the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and build a museum honoring local railroad history. Without the funding, realizing its vision would take much longer.

The Voorheesville Village Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 27, approved submitting an application requesting $1.3 million of federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding for its rail trail project. The state Department of Transportation is administering the funds, which would leave the village responsible for covering 20 percent of the cost, or $260,000.

Receiving the funds would fast track development of its recently completed vision for the rail trail’s end. The grant would not cover paving the rail trail itself.

To receive the funding, village officials must prove it could cover its share of the costs upfront. The hope is in-kind services could reduce its share, but the village isn’t allowed to factor that in the application.

“I think we’re comfortable realizing that we can certainly front the money and it not be a problem,” Village Mayor Robert Conway said.

He said reserve funds could be tapped to cover the cost if needed.

Trustee Brett Hotaling has served as liaison on the project and chaired a citizen committee that developed the plan. Village resident Rich Straut, who works for the engineering firm Barton & Loguidice, had informed local officials about the grant.

“We do have permission from Albany County to cross the road and extend the trail,” said Hotaling.

The most extensive work would be shortly past where the Rail Trail currently ends. Under the project, the trail would be extended along Grove Street — either along a strip of land or creating a bike lane on the roadway — roughly to the location of Voorheesville Self Storage.

Then, on a patch of land, would be an overlook tower with restroom facilities, and a museum would be located across the street. There would be roughly 50 paved parking spaces at the new trail head off Grove Street, which wouldn’t require removing any trees.

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