FRANKFORT, N.Y.-- Nearly a mile and a half of the Empire State Trail project will extend through Frankfort and Ilion by the end of 2019.
The 750-mile project seeks to connect the state through a series of recreational trails for hiking, biking and walking. The section extending from Buffalo to Albany will be called the Erie Canalway Trail. The portion connecting Albany to New York City will be the Hudson Greenway Trail and the section extending up to Plattsburgh will be named the Champlain Valley Trail.
Many portions of the trail system are not built yet, including the 1.2 miles planned for the two Herkimer County municipalities.
Tuesday night, representatives from the New York State Canal Corporation met with Frankfort residents to discuss their plans in more detail.
This section of the trail will connect with another portion presented to the public back in December, linking the village of Mohawk to the Ilion Marina.
Officials Tuesday night said the next section will begin at the Marina, run parallel to Route 5S and will stop on Acme Road, off the 5S ramp in Frankfort.
To make the trail accessible to pedestrians in Frankfort, crosswalks will have to be installed by the 5S ramp, prompting concern from local officials.
"I do understand some of the concerns that were brought up about crosswalks in 45 mile-an-hour zones," Richard Adams, Frankfort's mayor said. "I think some of the minor logistics need to be worked out."
"We're putting together a whole plan that will involve any road crossings, intersections, and what would need to be done for safety," John Joyce, Director of Policy for the NYS Canal Corporation said.
Still, both local officials and taxpayers alike hope the trail will bring new activity to a region pushing for more revitalization.
Adams hopes those who work in the Pumpkin Patch Business Park will see the trail as an opportunity to spend more time Frankfort.
"They might want to come in on a weekend with their family and utilize it, and they become familiar with Frankfort all the sudden because they work here now," Adams said.
"All of the villages definitely need to get more ride-by and walk-by traffic," Matt Young, a Frankfort resident said. "All the little businesses would definitely benefit from something like that."
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