Johnstown drops out of trail project

JOHNSTOWN – The city has decided not to be involved in a Fulton County capital project to pursue grant money to complete the city’s end of the ongoing Rail Trail project, Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said last week.

Mraz told the Board of Supervisors’ Capital Projects Committee the city was scheduled to be part of a county project to complete the Rail Trail project on two fronts.

“Johnstown will not participate in part of the grant,” Mraz said. “The project that is now defined is a $1.1 million project. It’s just going to be a county project.”

The initial 2.6-mile section of the Rail Trail was completed in 1998, spanning the area near Townsend Avenue in Johnstown to City Hall in Gloversville. By 2001, development was completed on a 2.8-mile stretch from Gloversville to the Dennie’s Crossing section of Mayfield, off Route 349.

A third phase, finished in 2006, included 0.6 miles from County Highway 155 in Mayfield to Route 30 and a 3.6-mile stretch from the Gloversville-Johnstown line, south to Union Avenue Extension.

The largest yet-unfinished section is 5.5 miles of trail between Route 349 (Dennie’s Crossing) in the town of Johnstown and County Highway 155 in the town of Mayfield – a project the county is doing. The other incomplete section is 1.3 miles of trail between Union Avenue Extension in the city of Johnstown south to the Fulton-Montgomery county line, which the city was intending to do.

The county now plans a proposed $1.1 million capital project for 2014 for its portion of the Rail Trail work, potentially using federal grant money to pay for 80 percent- about $844,000 – of the work. Mraz said the local share would be about $220,000.

But Mraz said he talked with county Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost, who indicated his department may be able to do local work on the project as in-kind services, so the $220,000 share won’t be necessary. Mraz said the work would be similar to when the county did the County Highway 155 work.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter said Thursday it was determined that the city of Johnstown’s share for the Rail Trail work would have been about $156,000 out of about $780,000.

“We thought it was too high for the portion it was,” she said.

Cotter said she talked with City Treasurer Michael Gifford before a decision was made not to do the Johnstown part of the project at this time.

Mraz said future work by his department will entail coming up with estimates for asphalt, fence rails and other materials costs for the county’s project. The county also is trying to secure rights-of-way, but it is getting help from the state.

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