MOUNTAINDALE — A crowd gathered at the Mountaindale Railway Station on Friday as local leaders and state representatives joined U.S. Congressman Antonio Delgado to celebrate $1.1 million in …
MOUNTAINDALE — A crowd gathered at the Mountaindale Railway Station on Friday as local leaders and state representatives joined U.S. Congressman Antonio Delgado to celebrate $1.1 million in federal funding for the Sullivan County O&W Rail Trail.
Plans to develop these hiking and biking trails were given a major boost last year when the Town of Fallsburg received the $400,000 Sullivan Renaissance Golden Feather. The $1.1 million federal investment comes as part of a package of seven appropriations bills funding various federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2022 passed in the House of Representatives last month.
“It has been an honor working with Congressman Delgado and his staff on this project,” said Town of Fallsburg Supervisor Steven Vegliante. “Funding this trail will help the Town create a regional tourist destination and provide all of our constituents with a healthy linear park throughout our Town. We are grateful to the support shown by the County of Sullivan and Sullivan Renaissance. It is a positive example of what can happen when we all work together.”
Local officials will use this funding to develop and connect different sections of Sullivan County O&W Rail Trail into a continuous 13-mile trail running from Mountaindale to the Liberty town line. Further plans include over 30 miles of continuous trail connecting several hamlets and village centers.
“This is another example of how we need to rethink democracy and make sure that the folks on the town level feel a sense of connection to what’s happening in Washington,” said Rep. Delgado. “We want people to feel empowered and accounted for, particularly in the rural parts of Upstate New York.”
Trail additions and improvements will include a section to cross the Neversink River and will one day include a restored railroad tunnel built in the mid-1800s.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who secured critical funding for last year’s Golden Feather Award, was excited to see this year-long project grow.
“I’ve had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful trails. I can tell you without a doubt that not only are there people exercising, but there’s fresh air,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “When people use our trails, they’re looking for a place to stay, they’re eating at our restaurants, it’s much more than just a trail.”
New York State Senator Mike Martucci and Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature Rob Doherty were happy to reach across party lines in order to continue to add beauty to the communities they represent.
“What’s so important about this project is that it was born and bred here in Sullivan County,” said Sen. Martucci. “It’s not about being Democrats or Republicans or what’s going on in Washington today. It’s about doing the right thing.”
The trail will continue to see additions added on until the entire trail is connected. On road segments will be included to provide accessibility to those across the county. Locals and tourists alike are still welcome to take in the beautiful nature on the already established hiking trails.
“Days like this should make you smile,” said Doherty. “It’s when the government works the way it's supposed to work. This trail is good for the region, good for the community, good for the town. It brings people together.”
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