Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Chemung County to build new river trail

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Chemung County to build new river trail
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The Southern Tier is full of recreational trails. But Chemung County will soon be home to yet another trail. As our Lara Greenberg tell us, the county voted to move forward with a new project that could potentially bring in more tourists to the area.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- "We had lobbied DOT about a year ago saying we'd like to turn that into a recreational trail. DOT agreed. They thought that was a great idea," said Friends of the Chemung River Watershed director Jim Pfiffer.

And Tuesday night, the Chemung County Legislature voted to accept a piece of land owned by the Department of Transportation for a new river trail.

This is roughly where the trail would begin, and you'll that if you continue along this bridge over here, it reaches right out to the highway.

The land is currently used as a utility corridor for construction workers and NYSEG for the I-86 construction project. But now the county plans to turn the space into a 5.5 mile long trail running from Elmira to Lowman. It would cost about $300,000.

"The time is right to accept this project now because of all the work that the state's doing, all the money that the state's putting in for improvements along the proposed trail," said Terry McLaughlin, the 9th District County Legislator.

The Chemung County Public Works Commissioner says if the Interstate project hadn't already paved the way for the trail, the project would cost more than a million dollars.

"We'd be foolish not to jump on it right now while the iron's hot," said McLaughlin

"What's nice is we have the trail. Like I said, if we did nothing to it, there'd still be a trail that exists there," said Pfiffer.

And there's talk of connecting the new trail to other trails in the area.

"This could be like a wonderful hub in the northeast for people to come and use these trails with all these different views and different venues," said Pfiffer.

And more visitors means a more profitable area.

Pavement and construction of the new trail is expected to begin once the interstate project is completed in 2012.

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