Rail Trail improvements eyed by city

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council heard recently the city Department of Public Works will meet soon with the state Department of Transportation on possible conceptual designs to improve the Rail Trail within the city.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter told the council last week at City Hall she will meet this week with DOT regarding the trail.

Cotter said last year a section of the trail through the city could be repaved with topcoat, something that is needed. Also, she said, improvements could involve adding new signs and a trail head on the Union Avenue side of the trail. She wants to implement a Rail Trail Improvement Program in 2013 using leftover federal money to improve parts of the trail.

The DPW budget for 2013 has a 10 percent increase, but most of that represents reimbursable federal funding for possible Rail Trail work.

Cotter said today the city has about $50,000 in available federal funding to do Rail Trail improvement work, but has yet to determine exactly what work will be done.

Deputy City Engineer Jason Scott said today his office has money for construction, and part of that funding is to pay for design work by Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Albany. He said the city is working with the engineering firm and DOT on potential designs for possible improvements and extension of the Rail Trail.

Consulting work

Elsewhere in her report, Cotter told the council the city needs to contact Arcadis-US of Clifton Park to determine if the firm needs to do more consulting work regarding the long-closed city landfill on West Fulton Street Extension in the town of Johnstown.

“I just want to kind of get back on their radar,” the city engineer said.

The landfill, off West State Street Extension, in the town of Johnstown, was closed 27 years ago. But the city has been pushing for reduced environmental sampling.

Cotter also reported the city’s consultant for the former Karg Bros. tannery site finished drilling and soil samples will be sent to the state Department to Environmental Conservation.

Samples were taken on privately-owned land adjacent to the site North Perry Street, as officials look to see if contaminants have spread from the site of the large mill that closed 20 years ago.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at