Future Rail Trail parcels eyed

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County government is in “great shape” to possibly purchase two more parcels for the ongoing county Rail Trail system by year’s end, an official said.

County Planning Director Scott Hanze gave an update on county Planning Department activities to the Fulton County Planning Board last week at the Fort Johnstown Annex.

Henze recapped how the county has developed certain parts of the trail the past 30 years.

The first stages of the Fulton County Rail Trail were started in the late 1980s. But county officials have for years been trying to develop a long-broken link in the trail toward eventual completion of a roughly 22-mile recreation path. There remains a privately-owned five-mile stretch that mostly runs through the town of Mayfield. It would connect an existing 10-mile path that runs through Gloversville and Johnstown with a two-mile section in Vail Mills.

The trail’s right of way in Mayfield fell into the hands of a half-dozen private owners in the 1980s when the town declined the right of first refusal to take over that section of the former FJ&G railroad. When the Rail Trail project began in the 1990s, it stalled near the town border, when the land owners wouldn’t allow development on the railroad’s former right of way.

To the south, there is about 4.5 miles of potential trail between Union Avenue Extension in Johnstown to Route 5 in Fonda.

Henze said the county is now “making some headway” again. He said the FJ&G Railroad Co. is interested in selling a 3.7-acre right of way property with 2,100 feet between Route 349 and Warren Road. He said the firm also desires to sell a 2.7-acre right of way property of 1,700 feet between Sand Hill and Nine Mile Tree roads.

Continuing his report to the planning board:

∫ Henze said discussions are in the early stages for a possible history museum for the Great Sacandaga Lake. He said a site is being sought for the museum, whose idea came out of a film made about the history of the lake.

“It’s really now kind of an idea,” Henze said. “There’s nothing concrete.”

∫ Henze reported on various activities involving the Fulton County Airport. A main apron reconstruction design project has been identified. But he said actual reconstruction of the airport won’t be until 2021.

“Next year, there will be nothing,” regarding airport construction, Henze said.

Henze said airport projects are typically funded 90 percent by the federal government, 5 percent by the state, and 5 percent local.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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