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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Schenectady trail projects gain momentum in Metroplex


SCHENECTADY – Exciting news for the city of Schenectady! Two new projects⁢ are in the works as part⁣ of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) to improve recreational opportunities and pedestrian access in the area.

The Schenectady County Metroplex ⁢Development Authority⁢ has awarded a $154,766 contract ‌to Delta Engineers, Architects, & Land Surveyors ⁣to oversee the design and contract ​bidding for plans to extend Alco Heritage Trail and reopen the long-shuttered Alco⁣ tunnel that⁣ connects Erie Boulevard and North Jay Street.

Metroplex Executive Director David Hogenkamp expressed his excitement about ‍moving forward with these projects, stating, “We’re very excited to move forward with them [Delta Engineers] and move forward with putting these bid packages together ​and with the idea of‌ getting something built later this year.”

These projects are ⁢part of the city’s ⁤DRI,⁣ a $10 million state ‍grant awarded ​in 2019 to enhance portions of the downtown area. ⁣Metroplex is overseeing the development ⁤of the ‍trail projects that are expected to‍ cost⁤ a combined $1.1 million.

As part of ⁣the DRI, plans to convert Jay Street into a two-way street in front of the post office have already been completed, and funds have been awarded for a State Street façade program to‌ restore the Wedgeway Building at the corner of Erie Boulevard and State Street.

The ‍Alco Heritage Trail currently runs through Mohawk Harbor, ending at River Street. Project plans call for ⁢extending the trail to the Front Street Park in the Stockade neighborhood⁣ and installing an information kiosk and small plaza area near the harbor at a⁣ cost of $760,000.

Plans to reopen the Alco Tunnel Trail call for installing lighting and other upgrades throughout a city-owned tunnel that passes under a set of train tracks that run parallel with Erie Boulevard ‍and​ connects to North Jay Street at an estimated cost⁤ of $350,000. The tunnel​ would also connect‌ to⁢ the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway.

Ray​ Gillen, chair of the Metroplex board, said the projects tie into ongoing efforts ⁤to improve pedestrian access from downtown ⁣to Mohawk Harbor, as well as efforts to expand recreational opportunities throughout the county.

Also⁣ included in the city’s DRI are plans to extend North Jay Street northeast to‍ the intersection of Nott Street and Maxon Road, a move that would create a connection between downtown and Mohawk Avenue, allowing pedestrians⁣ and cyclists to avoid having to navigate⁤ the heavily trafficked Erie Boulevard.

Last year, the neighboring town of Glenville broke ground ⁤on a $995,000 project to ⁣reconstruct a 1.3-mile portion of ‌the Scotia-Glenville Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike Trail between Freemans Bridge Road and Schonowee Avenue in​ Scotia.

The project‌ completed the River Loop, a 4.4-mile connector trail that ties into the Empire State and Alco Heritage trails that run through Schenectady.

“Both of these projects are very significant,” Gillen said.

Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres
Rafael Torres, a native of Schenectady, has returned to his hometown after several years of reporting in the Midwest. A graduate of Missouri School of Journalism, Alex is known for his empathetic approach to local news, covering everything from community events to local governance, always with an aim to bridge diverse perspectives.
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