GLENVILLE -- Construction has started a long-planned, off-road path that will link the Glenville Town Center to a major residential area east of the Schenectady County Airport.
"This is an important link, it will link more than 1,000 residents in the Woodhaven neighborhood with the Town Center," Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said at a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday.
The $192,000 project that started this week will expand on an $80,000 project done last year that build a concrete sidewalk along Glenridge Road from near the Glenville Post Office east past the Town Hall. A $250,000 grant secured through state Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, has paid for both projects, with the town contributing about $20,000.
Officials announced on Thursday that the pathway will be named in honor of the late Schenectady County legislator James R. Buhrmaster, a Glenville resident who died in July. Buhrmaster, who was also a former county Republican chairman, served in the County Legislature for 15 years, and was minority leader at the time of his death.
"He was willing to have respect for everybody, listen to everybody, to be part of supporting what was the right thing to do whether he got the credit or not, and I think that's why it's great we're doing this now," Tedisco said.
The Town Board must still vote at its Aug. 21 meeting on naming the town-owned trail in honor of Buhrmaster.
Koetzle said the path, which will cross the north end of the county airport property as well as some private properties, has been a long time coming. "It's been a personal priority for at least the 12 years that I've been in office," Koetzle said. "The town has been talking about for probably 25 years."
People already regularly walk on the shoulder of Glenridge Road, despite a hilltop with a blind spot, and the path will allow them to do so more safety, Koetzle said.
"It does many things," he said. "It makes people safe, it connects neighborhoods and businesses, and it reduces our carbon emissions."
Koetzle also noted that a grant-funded study looking at how the town could develop a townwide pedestrian and bike system will start this fall. The Glenridge Road path will be an integral part of any system. "I am proud that our vision of making Glenville more walkable and pedestrian-friendly in order to help reduce our impact on the environment, promote fitness and deliver desired amenities to our residents is starting to become a reality," he said.
"We know people will use the sidewalks and trails if they've got them," said state Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston.
The 8-foot-wide path is to be finished by the end of September.