A trail connecting Halfmoon’s Lighthouse Park with the Champlain Canalway trail is finally underway thanks to regional economic development grants after the project was briefly derailed by funding complications last year.
Nearly $200,000 in New York State Regional Economic Development grants have been awarded to the town of Halfmoon this year. Nearly half of those funds will be devoted to completing the Halfmoon Waterfront Connection Project.
The 10 foot wide pedestrian path has been in the works for quite awhile, according to Halfmoon Town Supervisor, Kevin Tollisen. “Our intent was always to connect with the Lighthouse Park,” said Tollisen.
Lighthouse Park is what Tollisen would call a “passive” park. “This is where people can come to eat lunch, hang out by the river, go sightseeing or fishing,” he explained. Thanks to this grant, folks walking along the Canalway trail should be able to easily visit the quiet Halfmoon park and enjoy its solitude by this time next year.
Tollisen explained the project was put on hold last year due to unexpected railroad maintenance expenses. “We had a certain amount built into our budget. Unfortunately, because of cost overruns (the railroad required a lot more infrastructure repairs at the crossing) we were unable to proceed.” Since then, Tollisen said “We’ve explored different opportunities to meet the budget gaps without going into the town coffers.”
The trail is one small part of a much larger project. According to the Hudson Crossing Park’s website, the Champlain Canalway will be 62 miles long and range from Waterford to Whitehall when complete. Only seven miles of the trail have been laid and are open to the public today.
“It’ll be a great addition for those who walk our trails,” said Tollisen. “Now they’ll be able to cross over Hudson River Road and actually go into Lighthouse Park.”
Tollisen noted the trail has been in the works for the last decade, adding with a tired laugh, “It is a massive plan that requires a lot of time, energy and patience.”
The other $100,000 of the grants awarded to Halfmoon this year will be allocated to a car-top boat launch project at Crescent Park. The boat launch will be made specifically for boats small and light enough to carry on top of a car, such as kayaks, canoes and rowboats.
“Each year we give the canal a clean up along the river. While we were discussing [the boat launch project] with Brian Stratton, the Canal Corporation Director, he suggested we submit a grant request.”
Tollisen added, the area will be cleaned up during the project. “There’s an old historical wall that we can hopefully see once we clean up that area.”
The boat launch will be situated near the Halfmoon – Colonie town line.