Tourism

City of Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake win walkway money

By: JOE LoTEMPLIO

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Two North Country communities will receive some much-anticipated good news in the form of state money for pedestrian and bicycle paths.

The City of Plattsburgh has won $1.6 million for improvements to the Saranac River Trail, and the Village of Saranac Lake will get $761,600 for upgrades to sidewalks along Route 86.

“We are thrilled to receive funds for this important project and grateful to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Department of Transportation for making this project possible,” City of Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon said in a news release.

RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES

The funding is part of $67 million for 63 bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use paths across the state. The money comes from the DOT and is designed to make improvements that will encourage tourism and enhance economic development opportunities.

“We are modernizing New York state’s transportation system while making it safer,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release.

“From building new facilities for bicycles and pedestrians to supporting historic highway programs, these projects will provide new tourism and recreation opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors.”

The Saranac River Trail is a 1.3 mile trail that stretches from Pine Street near the Plattsburgh Police Station, west along the banks of the river to an area on the edge of the property of SUNY Plattsburgh near Plattsburgh High School.

It opened in 2011 and features a paved path wide enough to accommodate bikers as well as walkers and joggers. Eventually, it will wind further west into the towns of Plattsburgh, Schuyler Falls and Saranac.

SAFER SCHOOL ACCESS

The state funding received this week is money the city applied for to connect the trail from Pine Street to Durkee Street and the downtown core via a rehabilitated Saranac Street Bridge and a new pedestrian bridge to Durkee Street.

The funding will also provide for a connection to Stafford Middle School by extending the trail along the river behind the City Police Station and across Pine Street to the school, allowing for safer access for students who walk or ride bikes to school.

The project will cost about $2 million, with the city contributing about $400,000 as part of the application with the state.

City Engineer Kevin Farrington said it will take at least a year to complete the design for the project and obtain the necessary property right of ways.

Construction will likely take place in 2015, he said.

‘ENCOURAGES TOURISM’

Calnon said linking the trail to the heart of the city’s commerce and cultural center will provide welcome access for many travelers.

“The Saranac River Trail does more than provide alternative options for transportation, it improves our quality of life here in Plattsburgh and encourages tourism and economic development opportunities in the downtown business district and across the region,” he said.

SARANAC LAKE SIDEWALKS

The funding for Saranac Lake will go toward improving sidewalk conditions on Route 86 along the shores of Lake Flower.

The sidewalks there are in bad condition, with many chips, cracks and holes, said Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, who supported the state funding for the projects.

“I think this is a very worthwhile project that will help improve the quality of the lake, help the hotels and is really good for the village economy,” she said.

The sidewalk project will be undertaken in conjunction with a major rehabilitation project for Route 86.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

Published: