Above: Blenheim Town Council member Renee Grabowski (right) makes a point to a University of Albany graduate student who is working on the Schoharie Creek trail project. Photo by Timothy Knight.
To kick off a yearlong feasibility study about constructing a 38-mile trail along the Schoharie Creek, Schoharie Area Long Term, Inc. (SALT) hosted more than two dozen town of Schoharie residents and public officials in a community meeting at the Schoharie United Presbyterian Church on Monday, Feb. 23.
Proposed to stretch from Esperance to Blenheim, the trail's preliminary concept is being designed as a project by the University of Albany's Graduate Planning Studios.
Students from the program addressed the audience with a brief presentation that cited economic impact, real estate values, quality of life and community health as possible trail benefits.
Members of the audience broke into small groups following the presentation and filled out questionnaires with their ideas for the trail.
$149,876 matching grant
The feasibility study is funded in part by the New York Department of State, which awarded Schoharie County Planning a $149,876 matching grant to determine the feasibility of the proposed trail.
Subcontracted to oversee the study, SALT is responsible for matching the Department of State's grant. SALT Development Director Jerrine Corallo said that the recovery organization's AmeriCorp VISTA and volunteer hours will go toward matching that amount.
Corallo said that the next step in the trail planning process is to hold a formal kickoff meeting in which an advisory committee comprised of public officials from the affected municipalities will be formed.
Afterwards, a request for proposals will be issued for contractors to design the trail.
Stating that the purpose of the study is to determine if a multi-use trail is feasible and where it would be located along the Schoharie Creek, Corallo said, "SALT is committed to this being an open and consensus based process."
SALT has until Dec. 17, 2017 to finish the study and present the results to the community.
Correction: The deadline for the study is December 2017, not 2016, and the request for proposals will be for design, not construction.