GLENVILLE — The town has the potential to develop new recreation trails linking residential and commercial areas, with at least three projects worth giving priority, according to a draft town study.
Among the draft recommendations are development of a new pedestrian path along Van Buren Road, linking the Town Center area to the Andersen Dog Park; a sidewalk or path through the hamlet of Alplaus; and an off-road trail from Freeman’s Bridge Road to the Town Center.
The draft Glenville Greenway Strategic Development Plan, which the Town Board saw for the first time on Wednesday, found that non-motorized trails have economic and quality-of-life benefits, and those projects and others are worth pursuing as part of the town’s on-going effort to make Glenville more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
The study proposes an eight-foot-wide, off-road trail along Van Buren — running almost the length of the road — at a cost of more than $1 million. Though there would need to be easements across private property and a small wetlands to cross, Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said that project is the town’s top priority.
The Alplaus project would cost around $480,000, the study estimates, while the Route 50 connection between Freeman’s Bridge Road and the Town Center — with a 10-foot-wide path located off the highway — would cost around $1.2 million.
Koetzle said the study will provide a basis for pursuing funding.
“We’re not going to be able to do those projects without grant funding, so that is our next step,” Koetzle said. “Van Buren is very important, because it connects a commercial area to residential neighborhoods to town parks, which is what we are trying do.”
The $75,000 study, most of it funded by an Empire State Development grant, has been done over the last two years by Behan Planning of Saratoga Springs and the Chazen Companies, as engineering consultant. The work was overseen by a committee that included representatives of the town, village of Scotia, Schenectady County, and state economic development officials.
“This is an important part of the process that gives us the ability to go out and apply for grant funding and it gives us a rationale for how these projects are prioritized,” Koetzle said. “It also gives the town a better understanding of the challenges ahead, like acquiring rights-of-way and utility relocations. It shows we are prepared to go forward.”
The town has been working on expanding off-road trails for several years, with the goal of eventually developing a town-wide system.
The town has already secured grant funding for several projects that haven’t yet been developed, including a path along the length of the Freeman’s Bridge Road commercial corridor from the Mohawk River to the Schenectady County Airport. A rehabilitation of the off-road path between Schonowee Avenue in Scotia and Freeman’s Bridge Road is also funded, and in advanced planning.
Those trails weren’t part of the study, which was focused on envisioning future projects.
Koetzle said the study has the benefit of giving the town an overall trail development vision that can be explained to residents, since the trail system is expected to be built in pieces over a number of years, as funding is secured. “As we build out the connections, this gives us an overall vision for how they will connect,” he said.
Also at Wednesday’s Town Board meeting, the Town Board accepted a donation of three acres of land on Gower Road from the Gower family, which no longer lives in the area. The land is contiguous with the the southern part of the 390-acre Sanders Preserve in West Glenville. The town expects to add the land to the preserve, and eventually create trails through it.