State offers K’hook $1.8M for trail upgrade

KINDERHOOK—On June 23, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that a total of $178.8 million has been awarded to 75 communities across New York State, including $1.8 million for the Village of Kinderhook, “for projects that promote environmentally friendly modes of travel and make it easier and safer to walk, bike or hike,” according to a release from the governor’s office.

The $1,864,348 award to the Village of Kinderhook is to construct pedestrian and bicycle improvements along Albany Avenue. At a special meeting on June 29, Village Mayor Michael Abrams said that the grant will be a “collaborative effort” with the engineering firm the village works with and the residents of Albany Avenue. He said the project will improve the sidewalks, road and drainage. And he assured a concerned resident at the meeting that the village will replace the 100-year-old water main under the road before the sidewalk project gets started.

He said that the water main replacement was not included in this grant but that there are other grants the village could look into and there are federal Covid relief funds that could be used. Replacing the water main in that part of the village has been discussed by the board for years.

‘New York is committed to moving projects like this forward.’

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado (D)

New York State

As for this latest state funding, the money would provide up to 80% of total project costs, with the village having to pay the other 20%. According to the press release from the governor’s office, the funding “is made available through the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the state Department of Transportation (DOT). Projects were selected through a competitive solicitation process that required awardees to demonstrate how proposed activities would contribute to increasing the use of non-vehicular transportation alternatives, reduce vehicle emissions and/or mitigate traffic congestion.”

Mayor Abrams pointed out that the village had applied for a state grant to improve Albany Avenue with Hudson Valley Engineering, asking for about $2 million, but was denied. Then, in April, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) made a stop in the village to discuss the launch of the Rural Outdoor Investment Act, a bill which he said would accelerate economic recovery for rural areas in New York. At the time Senator Schumer said that the money would provide funds for outdoor infrastructure, planning and business assistance “to drive tourism and revitalize downtowns.”

At the June meeting, Mayor Abrams said the board has 24 months to use the funds and that they have a contact at DOT who will go over what the funds can be used for. The project covers the stretch of road from the start of Albany Avenue to Sunset Avenue. The state’s Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET) runs through the village in that area with a crosswalk for trail users at the Albany and Sunset intersection.

“We’re investing in strategic initiatives across the state to improve quality of life, promote economic growth, and revitalize our communities,” Governor Hochul said in the release from her office.

“New York is committed to moving projects like this forward that will not only help lower emissions using transportation alternatives, but will also mitigate traffic congestion and help improve connectivity, air quality and access for predominantly low-and-moderate-income families,” Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said in the release.

Also at the special meeting:

•The Village Board discussed a proposed local law amending the village code to add short term rental (STR) regulations. Mayor Abrams said the law had been drafted by the village attorney and would have to go to the village Planning Board, then to the county Planning Board and then back to the Village Board for a public hearing and a vote on approval. He also said during the discussion that village residents “are upset about privacy” with STR.

Board members had many questions and concerns about the proposed regulations. Mayor Abrams said that it is a state law for rental properties to be inspected every two years and board members asked that the state law be referenced in the village law. There were concerns about some of the language in the proposed law and the need to hear from village residents on the issue.

Trustee Susan Patterson said, “We need to hear from both sides.”

“I think we should go cautiously,” said Trustee Mark Browne.

The board agreed to send the proposed law to the village Planning Board to hear its feedback

•The Village board also looked at code for tables outside of businesses in the village and the code on long term rentals. Those proposed changes to the code will also go to the village Planning Board for review

•Mayor Abrams discussed looking into technology so that board members, committee members and members of the public can attend meetings remotely. He said that the village could use funds that were going to be used to update the website for the new equipment and that the board will have to look at updating some of the laws to allow board and committee members to attend the meetings online. Meetings will still be held in-person with some members and the audience attending online.

The next regular Village Board meeting will be Wednesday, July 13 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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