KINDERHOOK–The Village Board held a public hearing last week on a plan by the village to acquire a parcel of land from the Samascott farm for the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET). About a mile-and-a-half of the trail, which will run from the City of Rensselaer to Greenport, mostly along National Grid rights-of-way, goes through the village.
The state’s Hudson River Valley Greenway is working with designers on the final plan for the trail. The state is paying for the $35- to $45-million cost for construction of the trail. Once it is finished in 2020, the Greenway has asked the municipalities to maintain the portions of the trail in their town or village.
The Village of Kinderhook plans to purchase the land from Samascott so that the trail does not have to go between two houses that are very close to the edge of the right-of-way. The state will pay about $12,000 in fees for the 0.48-acre parcel and the lawyers’ fees for the sale. The village will then own the land used for the trail.
The board had a full house for the public hearing held Wednesday, October 10, before the regular board meeting. One resident who lives along the trail near the Samascott property had concerns about her property value and the design of the trail, as well as keeping the plants around her house for privacy.
“They find that trails increase property values,” said Mayor Jim Dunham. He said the plan is for an 8-foot-wide trail of crushed stone, though it might be paved. He also stressed that ATVs will not be allowed on the trail. Village Board members suggested that residents go to the trail website www.ahettrail.org for maps and details.
Though the village plans to maintain its section of the trail, other municipalities, including Stockport, Stuyvesant and Chatham, say they will not. Ron Rich, who spoke at the public hearing, said a new group had formed to maintain those sections. The Columbia Friends of the Electric Trail, a not-for-profit corporation, plans to get information out about the project and collaborate with the trail authorities and other groups to facilitate linking the AHET to other trails and historic and cultural sites, he said.
“We applaud the village’s efforts,” Mr. Rich said of the board’s support of the trail. He said he felt that the trail was one of “the most fantastic things” to happen to the area. Mr. Rich said that the Town of Kinderhook also plans to help maintain the trail in some way.
Mayor Dunham said that before the board could approve the purchase of the land he needed to talk to the Greenway about the environmental review process.
“We probably can do it at our November meeting,” he said of approving the purchase. He did stress that the village would maintain its section of the trail and that, according to the state, the cost for maintenance would be about $1,200 a year. Mostly the maintenance will be mowing. No snow removal is needed. Mr. Dunham said that the Hudson River Valley Greenway plans to put a parking lot at Rothermel Park for users of the trail.
Also at the meeting:
• The board approved a $21,980 bid to replace the outside stairs at Van Buren Hall, the second floor of the Village Hall
• Leaf pick up started Monday, October 15
• The board talked with Jake Samascott about a water line that needs to be put in at the Dutch Inn on Main Street. Mr. Samascott, who is one of the owners of the building, said that he hoped to have the line in this year before it gets too cold. The village has to remove some trees to make that possible
• The board heard from the Bill Mancini from the Climate Smart Communities Task Force, who said that the electric car charging station, which is going in the village’s municipal parking lot, is “moving forward.” He said that once the charger is in, the village can receive a larger grant from the state for other energy efficiency projects. Mr. Mancini said the task force is looking at ideas for projects a new grant could fund
• The village Recreation Commission will hold a Halloween party at the Van Buren Hall on October 27 at 2 p.m.
• The board approved the KBPA (Kinderhook Business and Professional Association) request to extend the Farmers’ Market in the Village Square until October 27. The market is held on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• The mayor announced that the Nuns on the Bus will protest in the village November 23. The Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice Nuns on the Bus is a group of Catholic nuns who travel the country to hold members of Congress accountable for their votes on the 2017 Tax Bill and the attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The next village meeting will be Wednesday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email
Two more meetings about AHET set for Chatham and Valatie
GHENT – Representatives from the Hudson River Valley Greenway will attend public meetings in North Chatham and Valatie about plans to change intersections in both municipalities for the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail.
On Saturday, October 20 the North Chatham Historical Society is hosting a meeting with Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers and Chris Corwell, the designing engineer on the project, at the North Chatham Trolley Station, on County Route 32 and Depot Street, at 10 a.m. The meeting will focus on the Greenway’s plan for the intersection of state Route 203, county Route 32 and Bunker Hill Road. There is more information on the Town of Chatham’s website at chathamnewyork.us
Mr. Beers will also be at the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, Church Street, Valatie, on Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. to present plans to change the intersection of state Route 9 and Main Street. For more information on that meeting go to http://www.valatievillage.com
For more information on the AHET go to www.ahettrail.org–Emilia Teasdale