Plans for a walking and biking trail between two Adirondack villages are set to be wrapped up within the next month or two, as funding details are ironed out. The proposed trail will allow pedestrians a safe place to commute from one municipality to another.
Clinton County Chair Harry McManus first had the idea for a trail between the Village of Rouses Point and the Village of Champlain as far back as the 1960s. He was teaching, and noticed children would walk and bike on dangerous roadways.
“Public safety is very important,” McManus told Sun Community News.
The Northern Tier Recreation Trail, as it is being called,will start at the Village of Rouses Point at Rouses Point Elementary, run through the Town of Champlain, and end in the Village of Champlain – although, this could change depending on funding. The route is also being examined to ensure it doesn’t interfere with any historical sites or hidden burial grounds.
In January of 2015, the State Department of Transportation awarded $1.6 million to the project, but it’s an 80/20 grant, so municipalities had to pitch in to get the remainder of the funding. Communities successfully secured $320,000 from various sources.
McManus isn’t sure of the total price tag on this project because of the uncertainty of the design costs. While the trail would ensure a safe place for people – particularly children – to walk and bike, the trail might run through residential lawns; sidewalks as part of the trail could be another option.
If all three communities don’t end up having enough funds, they plan to look at incorporating more on-road options to bring down costs, dividing the remainder of the funds between all three parties. They could also look into more grants.
McManus is hoping to have the design plans finalized by May or June, and is encouraged by the fact that all three communities are agreeing on something. But not everyone who actually lives in the area is behind the project.
“I’ve lived here for almost 30 years, and I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen a child or a person on a bicycle, other than Canadians during the summer and fall season,” Village of Champlain resident Kevin Triller told the Press Republican.
McManus is not discouraged. He continues to be optimistic about the Northern Tier Recreation Trail, in part because the area has put more effort toward outdoor recreation in recent years.
For instance, the Village of Champlain last summer offered a rowing program. The initiative was put in place to get residents to join in a group rowing experience on the Great Chazy River on Friday evenings.
“People are more in tune to recreation now,” McManus told Sun Community News, pointing out the overall goal of all three communities is to bring in more traffic. “Ultimately, we would love for people to come and stay here.”
With the project still in the design and permitting stages, construction is expected to begin in Spring 2017.
- Press Republican: Plans to be set for financing Northern Tier Rec Trail
- Sun Community News: Walking along the Northern Tier Recreation Trail