B y Krystle S. Morey
A decades-long effort to complete a 30-mile-long recreation trail has taken a giant leap forward.
The town of Granville received a grant last week to help fill in the “missing links” of the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail on the railroad bed that was abandoned in the late 1900s. The trail will extend from Salem in New York to Castleton, Vermont, when it’s finished.
“This could finally close that gap on the northern end … and connect us to Vermont,” said Dan Boone, Granville‘s town assessor and a member of the rail trail committee.
The $22,500 planning grant will be used to pay The Chazen Companies, a consulting firm, to develop a plan to fill in the missing links of trail, outlining all aspects of the process from negotiating with land owners whose property is crossed by the trail to establishing a trail maintenance timeline.
The town board agreed unanimously in July to be the lead agency in pursuing the planning grant. It hired Chazen to help it write an application and apply for the grant in July.
Led by the committee, the town had to raise $7,500 to be eligible for the grant. Chazen donated $3,500. The committee received about $2,000 for its volunteer time, and it raised another $2,000 through fundraising.
Accompanying the application was a collection of letters from local businesses, officials and organizations in support of completing the trail. The Granville Border Riders Snowmobile Club and New York Parks and Trails were among those to submit support letters.
“Our goal is to see that all 30 miles of this trail are open to the public as a multi-use recreational trail, which will become the legacy which we leave to our children and grandchildren,” a statement from the committee reads.
The town got a little less than the $30,000 it was expecting from the grant.
“It’s workable,” Boone said.
Boone said the rail trail committee, formed in the 1980s, has been working since its inception to fill in the missing links of the trail.
“The committee was started as soon as the tracks were pulled up in the 1980s,” Boone said. “We were so very happy.”
Added Boone: “This has tremendous potential for the area.”
The next step, Boone said, is to arrange a meeting with Chazen, the committee and town officials to develop a timeline for the project planning.
“We’re looking at some time after Christmas,” he said.