A project more than ten years in the making could finally become a reality thanks to a new batch of state funding. As our Matt Hunter reports, Saratoga Springs officials are hopeful residents will soon benefit from a pedestrian trail connecting downtown to the city's southwestern border.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- When weather permits, Wally Elton has a preferred means of transportation.
"I'm a bicyclist myself, whenever possible, unlike today," Elton said Tuesday.
Elton is one of the nearly 20 percent of Saratoga residents living on the city's southwestern side near Geyser Road. Even in ideal weather conditions, the street proves challenging for cyclists and pedestrians.
"I have semis going by like three feet from my left shoulder so it's not great,” Elton said. “I can understand a lot of people will not do that."
"We could be riding our bikes downtown and using the bike racks downtown if we could just get down Geyser Road," said Molly Gagne, president of the Southwest Neighborhood Association.
Roughly 10 years ago, Southwest Neighborhood Association members and elected officials came up with the idea to construct a mile long pedestrian and biking trail along Geyser Road, stretching from the town of Milton border to Route 50.
While the engineering and planning has long since been completed, the necessary funds for construction have yet to materialize.
"It's been pretty difficult,” said Saratoga Springs Supervisor Matthew Veitch, a resident and member of the Southwest Neighborhood Association. “There are a lot of different piece parts that have to come together for this kind of thing."
"This was one of the first projects I got approached about after I got elected in 2005 as county supervisor," Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen said Tuesday.
Nearly a decade later, Yepsen, believes she may now have the means to complete the project.
Governor Cuomo recently announced New York was allocated $50 million in federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds. Yepsen plans to apply for a $2 million share for the Spa City.
"I think it's going to be a strong application, I hope we get the funding," Yepsen said.
If the funds are awarded, the trail would connect the southwestern side to the state park and ultimately downtown.
"Geyser Road is part of a countywide trails network we're trying to put together," Veitch said.
After a decade of working and wanting, Southwest Neighborhood Association members know there are no guarantees, but this time around they admit they're optimistic.
"All of our stars are aligned now and it's time to do it," Gagne said.
"It will be great for this whole neighborhood and personally, I'll love it," Elton said.