Johnstown eyeing Rail Trail upgrades

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council on May 20 is expected to approve $145,900 worth of design work by an Albany engineering firm to improve the city’s Rail Trail system.

The city is implementing a Rail Trail Improvement Program this year using leftover federal money.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter on Monday night at City Hall recommended to the council it hire Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Albany for the proposed work. She noted the company will do design work and not actual construction projects.

The council could award the work to Greenman-Pedersen at its next business meeting at 7 p.m. May 20 at City Hall.

The city has not decided which part of the work to do first.

For one part, she said, Greenman-Pedersen is estimating costs of $86,000 for engineering and design to redevelop an extension along the former FJ&G Railroad where the Rail Trail doesn’t currently exist in the city. That extension runs from the Montgomery County line near the Walmart Distribution Center at the Johnstown Industrial Park, north through the city to Union Avenue.

In another part, Cotter said, Greenman-Pedersen is estimating $59,900 worth of rehabilitation to the existing trail. She said the firm will look at drainage issues along the trail, sign improvements that will meet state Department of Transportation standards, and work such as adding crosswalks.

Cotter said a team of herself, City Treasurer Michael Gifford and Deputy City Engineer Jason Scott selected Greenman-Pedersen’s proposal as the best of seven proposals the city received for the trail engineering. She said the city reached out to 15 firms the last three months. Proposals were due into the city Monday. The city for this year budgeted money for improving the city’s trail’s system.

Most of the money for projects comes from a $275,000 federal grant Fulton County received for the trail. Cotter said the federal government pays 80 percent and the city pays 20 percent for work on the trail.

Second Ward Councilman Chris Foss said he favors the city doing current trail rehab work first.

“It certainly seems like the right idea to do the existing [work] and worry about the other part later on,” he said.

Cotter said work involving an extension of the trail might be “costly.”

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