Eric Williams of M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying (middle) assisted two local residents in reading the map showing the new Blue Trail in between the city and town of Plattsburgh.
Photo by Teah Dowling
PLATTSBURGH — Plans have been revealed for the first portion of the proposed 27-mile recreational trail that will link Plattsburgh to Saranac.
Clinton County and M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying revealed the first phase of the Saranac River Trail Greenway last week called “Blue Trails.”
The new 2.5 mile section, expected to be paved, will be an extension of the existing Saranac River Trail.
Early plans will take people from George Angell Drive to Reeves Lane.
The path will go behind the Plattsburgh High School football field along the Saranac River and connect to Adirondack Lane.
The proposed route will continue past a dam and continue to the SUNY Plattsburgh Fieldhouse around the outdoor sporting fields before proceeding into Rugar Woods, where it will loop around the Saranac River and end at Reeves Lane.
Early price estimates are slated to cost least $1.5 million — and could be as high as $2 million, said Clinton County Planning Technician James Bosley.
Bosley said Clinton County is planning to apply for grants through the state Department of Transportation and the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The trail, spearheaded by the Friends of the Saranac River Trail Committee, is designed to improve recreation and physical activity in the region.
Nearly two dozen residents attended an informational session at the Clinton County Government Center last week.
Chief concerns were parking and accessibility.
Bosley said public parking would be still be available on George Angell Drive.
SUNY Plattsburgh Chief of Staff Keith Tyo said residents will be allowed to park in the Fieldhouse parking lot, which is already being utilized by hikers at Rugar Woods.
Frank Baehre, 68, enjoys cycling and hiking and often uses the existing trail network.
The Cliff Haven resident said he is satisfied with the project, especially the 10 foot-wide paved path.
“I have no concerns,” he said. “This is going to be a nice outdoor development and it’s going to make it accessible for everyone.”
Nancy Olsen expressed concerned about paved paths.
“It [the pavement] takes away from the wilderness and the paradise,” Olsen said. “People on paved paths tend to go faster and don’t look around at their surroundings.”
Bosley said the reason why asphalt was chosen over alternatives like stone dust was because of ADA compliance codes and ambulance access in case of an accident.
Bosley said the next step is to apply for and obtain a grant to cover the costs of the final design and future construction.
Clinton County is looking to apply for grant funding sometime this fall, with construction slated to begin in 2018.
“I cannot promise that,” said Bosley. “But if we do get the funding, we can see construction happening within the next few years.”
Clinton County officials will make a decision on the final route sometime this month, which could change later on due to cost restrictions or failure to obtain easements, said Bosley.
The route contains several private properties that would require easements before moving forward with construction, said Bosley. The other routes go through city of Plattsburgh, town of Plattsburgh, SUNY Plattsburgh and Plattsburgh City School District lands.
All four already expressed interest in this project, including Tyo, who said the campus would be more than willing to put up signs near the SUNY Plattsburgh Fieldhouse to direct people to the trail.
For more information or questions, contact Bosley at 518-565-4713 or email@example.com.