Sullivan Renaissance held their “Get Ready to Renaissance” Winter Symposium over Zoom Wednesday, January 19, wherein panelists spoke on various plans, grants and programs throughout the …
Sullivan Renaissance held their “Get Ready to Renaissance” Winter Symposium over Zoom Wednesday, January 19, wherein panelists spoke on various plans, grants and programs throughout the county in the year ahead.
This included the highlight of the symposium, the O&W Rail Trails and Sullivan Renaissance’s ongoing plans to connect shorter sections of trails together to form longer, streamlined trails.
“Our theme takes its inspiration from the O&W Railroad, now the Sullivan O&W Rail Trail,” Executive Director of Sullivan Renaissance, Denise Frangipane.
“Today, we have Renaissance projects in every trail community. This is your trail, and the collective efforts of the county and the representatives from each trail town have created the Sullivan O&W Rail Trail Alliance,” Frangipane said.
Shannon Cilento, Community Development Program Manager, introduced a panel of representatives who were invited to speak on various topics regarding the O&W trails, the historic significance of the former railways now turned walking trails, and the plans in motion for the future of the trails.
Panelists included Sullivan County Historian John Conway, Sullivan O&W Rail Trail Alliance members Freda Eisenberg and Heather Jacksy, and Town of Liberty Supervisor Frank DeMayo.
Important takeaways from the panel included a segment on the Neversink Crossing Project, which will attempt to link two segments of the trail into one with a bridge over the Neversink River, historical background knowledge on the O&W railways, enhanced handicap accessibility along the trails, and how increasing pedestrian traffic would be beneficial to businesses in towns that the trail runs alongside.
NEVERSINK CROSSING PROJECT
“Last year Sullivan Renaissance featured our signature project that has been accelerating at a terrific pace, which is what we are calling the Neversink Crossing Project,” said Eisenberg.
“There are two existing trails in Fallsburg, the Hurleyville Trail that goes from South Fallsburg all the way to Ferndale, and then on the other side of the Neversink River, there's the trail that goes from Woodridge to Mountaindale. There is basically a mile between these two trails, so by creating a bridge and replacing some other lost infrastructure, we can bring together these two trails,” Eisenberg explained.
“We have been working very hard on that project, we have secured a lot of funding for it, and are really pushing to implement this over the next couple of years,” Eisenberg said.
Furthermore, Handicap accessibility of trails is a point of great importance, according to the panelists.
“The grade of the trail is really level, and that makes it accessible for just about everybody,” O&W Rail Trail Alliance member Heather Jacky noted.
O&W HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Sullivan County Historian John Conway gave a brief overview of the picturesque locomotive history that helped in providing an understanding of the area, the trails, and how the Renaissance’s trail projects eventually came to be.
This background knowledge included the rise and fall of the original O&W company, the original train rails, and the fate of the communities built alongside the train rails.
GOOD FOR BUSINESS
Town of Liberty Supervisor Frank DeMayo spoke on how the trails would be beneficial to business in the towns that the trail runs alongside.
With multiple segments of the O&W trails running through Liberty, DeMayo also remarked on the town’s excitement to be a “host community” for the trails.
“All the trails are being maintained by volunteers and our parks and recs folks,” DeMayo said while inviting those who wish to take part in maintaining the trails to sign up to become volunteers. “Engage yourselves in this really exciting project.”
DeMayo also believes the project to unite the trails into one will generate a greater hum of business for Liberty and all towns that would encompass the many segments of the trails.
“The trails will certainly attract visitors who in turn will be invited to visit the up and coming quaint mainstreet in Parksville, the historic greater downtown Liberty mainstreet, and the developing Lake Street Wierk Avenue corridors,” DeMayo said.
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