County seeking trail fund extension

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County’s use of federal funding for the county Rail Trail system is set to expire Sept. 30, but supervisors are taking steps to extend the state-imposed deadline another five years.

The county has about $220,000 left from a $400,000 federal grant the county landed in 2003 to pay for the bulk of the costs in developing the third phase of the county’s ongoing Rail Trail project.

Work left in a third and final component of that phase includes acquisition of about 5.5 miles of abandoned railroad right-of-way between Route 349 (Dennie’s Crossing) in the town of Johnstown and County Highway 155 in the town of Mayfield.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead told the Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee Monday the county has gone through at least two extensions of its original agreement with DOT to use the federal TEA-21 Grant funding for the Rail Trail.

The Board of Supervisors in August 2007 extended the agreement of the original grant by five years to Sept. 30, 2012. The board in July 2012 again extended the grant deadline to Sept. 30 of this year.

Stead said county Planning Director James Mraz received word DOT will allow a third “no-cost” time extension to use the remaining trail money through Sept. 30, 2019.

“Jim looked into it and they will allow us to do an extension,” Stead said.

The committee voted to authorize board Chairman Rick Argotsinger to submit and execute the extension with DOT. The full board must act March 10 on the proposed committee action.

The state is working with the county in an attempt to complete the third phase of trail work. The first component of phase three was construction of 3.5 miles of trail along the abandoned F,J&G Railroad between Fairgrounds Park on North Perry Street in Johnstown and the county line in the Johnstown Industrial Park. The second completed component was construction of 1 mile of trail between Route 30 in the town of Mayfield and Second Avenue in the town of Broadalbin.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com