By NED CAMPBELL, Observer-Dispatch,link to original post
The Oneida Common Council Tuesday night gave its approval to connect the city’s rail trails.
The vote was unanimous to support the Oneida Improvement Committee’s Rail Trail project, which will connect trails that already exist in the form of abandoned railroad beds into a cohesive 10.75-mile recreational path for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
The council authorized acting Mayor Max Smith to file a state Department of Transportation Strategic Transportation Enhancement Program grant application.
The city is seeking just under $700,000 in STEP funding and would have to match 20 percent of that. The estimated $144,420 in matching funds would be covered by in-kind services, committee President Joe Magliocca said. “It is fully the intention of everyone involved in putting this grant together to make sure there are no new tax dollars going to this,” he said.
Almost $10,000 would be accounted for by volunteer hours, according to the grant application that was prepared by the Madison County Planning Department. An $8,500 grant from the Central New York Community Foundation also would go toward matching the funds.
The scope of the project changed when the county Planning Department learned of the STEP grant about three weeks ago, senior planner Jamie Hart said.
If awarded, the grant would allow the city to fund a variety of improvements to parks located along the trail. Those would include upgraded bathrooms at Allen Park and Carinci Park, a new bathroom and a revitalized stream bank at Maxwell Field, the second and third phases of a new playground at Allen Park and an accessible fishing platform for the creek on Hubbard Place.
The funds also would go toward installing such trail amenities as trail head signs, benches, picnic tables and bike racks as well as historical kiosks emphasizing the city’s rich railroad past.