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Trail-finish deal set for approval

Trail-finish deal set for approval

The county is ready to award a nearly $660,000 contract next week to build the final two-mile sectio

The county is ready to award a nearly $660,000 contract next week to build the final two-mile section of the Zim Smith recreation trail, bringing it into Ballston Spa.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a $659,107 contract with HMA Construction of Schaghticoke, which was the lowest of seven bidders.

Building it will complete the 8.9-mile Zim Smith trail as it was envisioned 20 years ago, as an off-road trail for hikers and bikers.

The full trail will run from Oak Street in Ballston Spa to Coons Crossing in Halfmoon. The new work will complete the section between Underpass Road and Oak Street.

A separate new agreement could allow the trail to be extended two more miles, from Coons Crossing into Mechanicville.

The railroad company Pan Am Southern has agreed to donate land along the southern edge of the Mechanicville rail yard, which Pan Am Southern is redeveloping as a new freight center.

Trail advocates had been pushing for an agreement and got it included in the project conditions set by the Halfmoon Planning Board.

The trails group Saratoga PLAN will have the right to develop the trail for the next five years, though agreements will still need to be reached with six other private landowners located between Coons Crossing and the railroad property.

“The Pan Am Southern-Zim Smith project exemplifies the Halfmoon Town Board philosophy of balanced growth,” said Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth.

Saratoga PLAN Chairwoman Julia Stokes noted the long-term goal set in the county’s green infrastructure plan is for a recreation trail extending from Mechanicville all the way to Saratoga Springs.

The Oak Street section of trail is only being built now because of similar negotiations the county had to have with CP Rail, because part of the trail will run on railroad property next to the Saratoga-Schenectady line.

Federal economic stimulus money will pay $399,000 of the construction costs, but the county will be paying itself — to the tune of $260,370 — for the construction on the railroad property.

County Planning Director Jason Kemper said the county-funded work will include construction of a security fence being required by CP Rail.

The trail is named in memory of the late trail advocate Zimri Smith of Saratoga Springs.

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