Fulton Footpaths Applies for Construction Grant

Photo: Fulton Footpaths Facebook page

FULTON, NY – Fulton Footpaths, the volunteer committee working to create a system of multi-use heritage trails throughout the city of Fulton, has applied for a state-funded grant for the first phase of trail construction.

Submitted to the NYS Department of State, the application for funding is to cover costs derived from a feasibility study to construct two out of eight total trails.

The grant would fund up to $900,000 for construction work- a monetary value figured from a feasibility study completed by Syracuse-based Environmental Design and Research (EDR) that was secured through prior grant funding.

The first construction grant will target the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail (four miles) and the Canalview Bridge Walk Trail (1.8 miles.)

The Canalview Bridge Walk Trail crosses both bridges, using South First and West First streets to connect the two bridges.

With grant funding, Fulton Footpaths co-founder Marie Mankiewicz explained that together with co-founder Brittney Jerred and other group volunteers, they anticipate including some sidewalk work, trail signs and markers, benches, and trash receptacles as part of the construction of the Canalview Trail.

The Pathfinder Trail is composed of three sections- north, central, and south, Mankiewicz explained.

The north section covers from Indian Point to the Oneida Street bridge.

Some construction work had been started in prior years at Indian Point. With grant funding, Fulton Footpaths anticipates completing the work that was started and also adding solar lighting, trail signs, an interpretive panel, and additional sidewalks around businesses that trail the Oswego River to connect to Oneida Street bridge.

The central section of the trail stems from Oneida Street bridge to Broadway Bridge along the Oswego River.

Anticipated work in this region includes recommended ledge work behind the post office, solar lights, benches, trash receptacles, signs, interpretive panels, and continuing the trail from the marina to the Broadway bridge with light duty asphalt paving.

The south section of the trail runs from the Broadway bridge to the city line on State Route 481 just outside Cayuga Community College.

If enough funding is secured, this section anticipates the same scope of work, however, the group is unsure whether funds will be available after completing work in the north and central section.

Hoping to leverage two different grants, Mankiewicz explained that Fulton Footpaths will be seeking funding from the NYS Department of State, of whom the group has been working with in regards to the feasibility study, as well as NYS Canal Corporation, who group and city officials have already met with.

Approval from the Fulton Common Council to seek the grant was mandatory and passed during regular meeting in early July with unanimous support.

“We’re really excited. It’s so much work, but we’re excited. The feasibility study is done, it’s doing exactly what its supposed to do. It gave us the construction drawings, now with them we’re going back to the Department of State and saying, ‘here’s out plan and budget.’ So now hopefully we’ll get the money,” Mankiewicz said.

Having submitted the construction grant, Fulton Footpaths leaders anticipate construction will begin in late 2019 at the earliest, pending the awarding of the grant and subsequently an official contract from the state.

The eventual completion of all eight trails will incorporate walking trails to connect throughout the entire city.

Focusing on the river and canal when targeting which trails would best benefit to begin construction, Mankiewicz said Fulton Footpaths mission ties into the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown.

Along with other changes in the city’s downtown region, including the new location of CNY Arts Center, Mankiewicz is confident that the construction of the two anticipated trails will provide more opportunities for Fulton.

“It will be a wonderful little blend of everything. This is really a big step for quality of life in Fulton,” Mankiewicz said.

Additionally, Fulton Footpaths directly ties into the city’s revamping of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, surfacing as a key project in the program’s outline, Mankiewicz said.

While the beginning two trails anticipating construction focus on the Oswego River, additional trails anticipating future construction will also connect to Fulton’s other waterside, Lake Neatahwanta.

For this reason, the LWRP committee sought state designation to NYS Department of State’s listing of Coastal Waterways and Designated Inland Waterways in early 2018.

Earlier this month, state approval granted Lake Neatahwanta and the Oswego River access to this designation.

Inclusion in this list along with 11 other Coastal Waterways and more than 120 Designated Inland Waterways will help Fulton secure future funding in relation to both city waterfronts.