Minutes of Friends of Saranac River Trail Meeting, Dec. 4, 2014

Friends of the Saranac River Trail

Meeting Summary

December 4, 2014   4:00 PM

City Hall, Community Room

Ashley Cousens, Secretary 

City Engineer, Kevin Farrington began the meeting with an update about Phase II of the Saranac River Trail.

  • 2.1M grant will cover the downstream continuation of the trail, across the Saranac River and paths on both sides of the river. The extension will include a pedestrian bridge to the foot of Durkee Street as well as the middle school connector trail.
  •  All construction is taking place on city-owned property.
  • The schedule will be as follows
    • The design draft should be out very soon; it was expected at the end of November
    • Public Information meeting will be scheduled sometime in January
    • In July the city will advertise for construction contractors
    • September 1 the contract will be awarded
    • Construction will begin in the fall
    • NYSEG cleanup isn’t completed yet, the plan is to work around that project until they are finished, hopefully in 2016 or 2017. The hope is that NYSEG will help with the project a little bit, maybe helping to grade and pave the trail on their site after their work is done.

Ashley Cousens, Coordinator for the Max Moore Memorial Treehouse Project then provided an update about the Treehouse project progress.

  • The planning committee is working toward the goal of building the treehouse this spring/summer 2015. They will need skilled labor, building materials, funds, and volunteers in the coming months to make this possible.
  • The next fundraiser is a Movie Fundraiser on Saturday 12/6 at Cumberland 12 Theater at 10am.
  • The group has raised $46,000 so far, toward the treehouse. If labor can be donated, they may not need to raise the full $100,000 that was originally estimated for the project. The group is seeking materials donations and skilled laborers now to sign on for building in the spring.
  •  In February, the group will launch a (hopefully) final push for fundraising via the Woodmen of the World’s online fundraising program called Red Basket. Stay tuned on the group’s facebook page for more information www.facebook.com/maxmooretreehouse

Jesse Feiler, President, discussed a grant proposal that was submitted recently for the Friends of the SRT to get some funding for programming around trail activities.

  • The grant is expected to be awarded early in 2015 and will include funding for “Talks, Treks, and Tasks”.
  • The goal of programming around the trail is to get more people involved.
  • If the funding is awarded, the Friends group will seek to organize lectures and discussions, special interest walks along the trail (such as photo or nature walks), and will continue things like the National Trails Day cleanup on the first weekend in June.

Discussion

Then discussion opened up about the Saranac River Trail Greenway group – made up of municipalities involved along the Saranac River. The trail will eventually be extended up river all the way to Saranac. Various projects are underway including a feasibility study to design the trail and figure out where it will go, etc.

Keith Tyo raised a concern about the fence behind Plattsburgh High School. It now extends all the way down to the football field, which may be problematic for trail/river access.

Kevin mentioned some vandalism that has happened at the kiosk in that area behind the high school. The city is repairing the significant damage and may install more security measures in that location.

There was further discussion about the possibility of extending the Trail cleanup day into Rugar Woods as it is a popular destination for trail users in the area.