Finished Rail Trail would benefit community

City of Johnstown officials should finish the design work to bring the FJ & G Rail Trail closer to completion.

The Johnstown Common Council on May 20 is expected to decide on whether to approve $145,900 worth of design work by an Albany engineering firm to improve the city’s portion of the trail.

The city is implementing a Rail Trail Improvement Program this year using leftover federal money. The city may hire Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Albany for the design work.

There are two parts to the work, and the city has not decided which to do first.

In one part, Greenman-Pedersen is estimating costs of $86,000 for engineering and design of a Rail Trail extension from Union Avenue to the Montgomery County line near the Walmart Distribution Center at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

In another part, Greenman-Pedersen is estimating $59,900 worth of repairs to the existing trail. The company will look at drainage needs, sign improvements to meet state Department of Transportation standards and adding crosswalks.

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

We hope the city will do the design work for the undeveloped section of the trail first.

It’s been about 15 years since the first stage of the Rail Trail was completed. The trail is not just a bike path; it’s a way to bring in more people – and their dollars – who are looking to enjoy the natural beauty and history of our area. The trail also improves the quality of life for people living in the area.

The timing of the city’s Rail Trail plan is good. Fulton County officials are considering completing a section of the trail in Mayfield, and Montgomery County is looking into completing the 3.4-mile section between Fonda and the city of Johnstown line this year.

When all the work is done, people could walk or ride their bikes from the Mayfield area to the Mohawk River and then have the option of going along the Erie Canal.