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The city of Canandaigua will temporarily stop pursuing a trail project that was first discussed in 2002.
The 2.4 mile-trail would stretch from Buffalo Street to near City Hall when completed. A major obstacle in the project is the fact that most of the land needed for the trail is owned by the Canandaigua City School District and the Finger Lakes Railway. Attempts to get both entities to sign off on the project began in 2009, said Rick Brown, the city’s director of planning. The city has not been able to reach a deal with either property owner, he added.
“They’ve been humoring us,” Brown said during the city Planning Committee’s March meeting. “They won’t say no, they’ll just say, ‘come back next month.’”
The overall history of the project is complicated, Brown said. In 2002, the Genesee Transportation Council (GTC) prepared a nine-county trails plan. The Canandaigua section of that plan was identified as a “near-term” priority. A feasibility study was funded by the GTC two years later in 2004, Brown said.
Several years later, in 2008, the state Department of Transportation provided a grant to construct the trail. A year later, the city retained an engineer, prepared plans for the trails, and started meeting with the property owners. Another problem occurred in 2011, when federal funding for the trails program was cut by about 40 percent, Brown continued. The next round of federal funding is scheduled to take place after 2014, which means that would be the soonest that construction could begin on the project.
Despite that holdup, the design is largely complete. Brown said. He added that the city will most likely wrap up the design — without the final approval from the school district and railroad — and “moth-ball” the project until there are funds for construction.
During the planning meeting, there was also discussion — though no decision — of possibly fixing up the part of the trail the city owns.
“If it’s land we own, and have every right to maintain it, then let’s just do it ourselves and be done with it,” said Councilmember Jim Terwilliger.