Fulton Plans New Trail System

sign says Van Buren park fitness trail.
Created by Friends of Fulton Parks, Van Buren Park fitness trail circles the park. Photo provided by Friends of Fulton Parks.

FULTON – For the past four years, the city of Fulton has worked to get a system of multi-use trails, and with the pending help from Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding, Phase One has begun.

In an effort to make Fulton more pedestrian friendly, a system of eight trails will connect city parks, points of history and other Fulton landmarks. 

“One of the trails, on the East side, is called the Park Trail and that will actually connect all the trails on the East side. But all of the parks in the city are connected in one way or another to the trails,” said Community Development Agency Executive Director Joe Fiumara.

The city had a goal to have more trails in a comprehensive plan from 2003, then a subcommittee resurrected this plan a few years ago. 

Brittney Jerred and Marie Mankiewicz, the two main members of Fulton Footpaths, spearheaded the resurfaced plan and worked to get a grant for a feasibility study.

In 2017, Fulton was given a grant to do this feasibility study to develop the eight trails, and it resulted in conceptual drawings for five trails and construction drawings for two downtown trails – Pathfinder Canal Towpath and Bridge Canal View Trails.

“That laid the groundwork for us to be able to apply for Department of State funding through the city,” Jerred said.

Jerred and Mankiewicz were also part of the DRI committee.

According to the DRI application, “A CFA grant of $900,000 was awarded to Fulton by the Department of State and Canal Corporation in December 2018 to construct two multi-use trails. Construction will begin in 2019. With a DASNY grant of $100,000, a stairway from Veteran’s Park to the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail will also be constructed in 2019.”

Jerred said a concern about increased drug use on the new trails was brought up during a public meeting, but believes with increased lighting, better access and a larger public presence will diminish possible illicit activities.

“I think right now we’re having that problem more than we would if these were lit up and being used by the public, and you would have more people walking down, you’d have brush cleared so that some activities couldn’t take place so easily,” Jerred said.

The first phase will complete the Bridge Canal View Trail and two-thirds of the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail before moving on to the rest of the trail system.

The bidding process is close to starting, but it typically takes some time for bids to return, proposals to return and the Common Council to pass a resolution to accept the bidder. Fiumara said he hopes the construction can start this fall, but a majority of it will not be done until next year.

The cost of seven trail segments is estimated at $5.5 million, according to Fiumara. In the DRI application, it was proposed to give $903,000 of the funding award toward the trails. 

“When the state comes in, this might change,” Jerred said. “When you actually have dollars, you have to do things that are going to maximize those investments.”

Although the DRI application outlines proposed projects and how much of the funding could go toward it, a committee still has yet to be formed to evaluate each project and approve it. Fiumara said CDA is preparing for funding gaps in the projects proposed for the DRI by seeking out other grants.

“That could all change based on other funding sources. These are just estimated amounts right now,” Fiumara said. “There may be other types of funding through Empire State Development or through other state and federal funders that offer economic development funding.”

Fiumara said there will be signage along the trails to identify where all the parks and points of interest are, allowing for more awareness and access to hidden destinations.

Friends of Fulton Parks recently built a half mile trail looping around Van Buren Park with some fitness equipment, and the city plans to connect that trail to the system as well. 

Kelly Weaver, director for Friends of Fulton Parks, has not seen the construction plans for the system, but thinks the concept of the trails is great. 

“[People] can actually get some cardiovascular exercise without worrying about vehicular traffic,” Weaver said. “I think it has a lot of potential to improve recreation and physical exercise in the city.”

The trails system, with benches and lights, will start at Indian Point boat launch and link the parks. 

Part of the system, including the trail around Van Buren Park, will be in the sixth ward, where Lawrence Macner is councilor on the Common Council.

 He also volunteers some of his time helping to clean up the trails in Fulton. He said they can start to become overgrown, but he and other volunteers trim branches and grass along the trail.

“It’s exciting to me. The city needed something like this,” Macner said. “We’ve got a beautiful resource, this river here. And now we finally have some money to try and take advantage of it.”

10 Comments

  1. Really..a trail for the drug addicts..i cant believe we will spend that kind of money on trails…wow no wonder this city is full of B.S..i still say you guys are screwing it up…super dirt week is approaching soon…the outlaw 200 is also..but dont worry about all that money going right thru your hands…unbelievable…in case you missed it the 100th time…this city sucks…build stair cases and trails…dont worry about the small stuff…jobs..economic worrys…it will soon be a mayberry…

  2. Stairs 100,000 dollars. No good for handicap people. It never ends in Fulton. My kids are still waiting for sprinkler park.???????????….. Could build a pool for the amount of money spent on study to build walk way. City of Oswego knows how to get things done.

  3. Oswego was awarded their grant in 2016 so why don’t you chill. I am very excited to hear this news. I enjoy running/doing my speed workouts at Van Buren park (haven’t had any run ins with “druggies”) but even with the recent work that went into the park the footing on the trail is still unstable due to rain washing away the path. Excited to hear this news!

  4. What’s going on with Sharps’ pond? let’s clean up one crap hole before wasting money on another.

  5. Seriously we need stores and restaurants not stupid walking trails that just more places to sell and do drugs

  6. “In an effort to make Fulton pedestrian friendly.”
    PLEASE fix the sidewalks first, especially the parks!
    Enforce clear sidewalks and driveways free of squalor and snow. Clear porches too!
    Enforce storefront property, homeowner and landlord pride like other towns do.
    Have more school seminars re: littering, vandalism and “dog” clean-up.
    Unlike many other towns we have a lake and a river as a draw.
    We need to bring the economy back.

  7. So lets see, 1 out of 5 thinks spending millions on walking paths is good. Sounds like a good business plan to me. Come on maybe 50 to 100 people will use these trails,that means it will cost the taxpayers $55,000 per person to run or walk. Oh ya, I’m all in on that plan.

  8. One hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money. Handicapped people can’t use them. Old people won’t use them. Someone is going to slip and fall and sue the city. Five million dollars is crazy money to build a walk way. Half of the year it will be covered in snow and ice and I’m sure flooded in places. So where do you run in those months. All of a sudden they are talking about using the new grant money to build this. That wasn’t the plan before hand. I too have walked the trails and very few people use it.

  9. A $5 million dollar walking trail is the best the city leaders and community can think of?

    YOU WILL REGRET DOING THIS. A smaller one would be nice.
    INSTEAD:
    – buy a machine to fix the roads. We could rent it out to other cities, villages and towns to cover our expenses. Roads always need to be repaired. Would you start a business in a city with run down buildings and roads?

    – fix the sidewalks
    – beautify downtown with an interesting theme that will capture people’s interest and something to enjoy.
    – put money into the lake. Make it a place people want to go with something to do.
    – maybe a paintball park for recreation for older kids. This may attract people from nearby places.
    – Fix houses and sell them. If landlords won’t do up keep, do it and then add it to their taxes.

    Fulton will never attract large businesses. Only Miller and the fact that Reynolds Aluminum was here created some factories but not anymore.
    Think improvement all the way around.

    *** you will regret a $5 million dollar walking trail. Count how many people are using what we have now and ask yourself is it really needed?

    Older people walk, but how far?
    Kids are computer addicts and won’t use a walking park.

    We are making a huge mistake.

    – look around the country to see what they offer their communities. Sitting areas with scenery and fishing spots that look nice and would attract people to use them.

    I am glad those that are convinced that a expensive walking trail will revive Fulton have put their names on it, so we will know later who had this unneeded idea.
    What have citizens complained about the most?
    Nothing to do
    roads are a mess
    sidewalks
    run down buildings
    This will tell you what they want and what we need.

  10. How about sidewalks for the kids to get to and from the High School? If you live within a mile you are a designated walker, yet there is not a consistent series of sidewalks for the kids to use. It is bad enough in the Fall with all the traffic and kids walking the non-existent shoulders, once the snow hits they are forced into the traffic lanes, same for muddy spring streets. I’ve never understood why Chestnut and Cedar Streets, which lead directly to the school, have no sidewalks.

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