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Watertown to host informational meeting on Black River Trail extension

in Local News 57 views

The city of Watertown will conduct a public information meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the proposed Black River Trail Western Extension, which will run from Marble Street Park near Eastern Boulevard to Factory Square Park.

The meeting will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, located on the third floor at 245 Washington St.

The meeting will be an open-house-style event, so people can come and go throughout the hour and a half.

The city, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration and the state Department of Transportation, is developing preliminary design plans to construct about 1.5 miles of multi-use trail along Marble Street and along the former New York Central Railroad corridor, including the conversion of two former railroad bridges on Sewall’s Island to fill in a critical gap with the existing Black River Trail in the city.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather comments on the proposed project from interested individuals, stakeholder groups, local officials and involved agencies. This public meeting is part of the continuing efforts by the city, DOT and the Federal Highway Administration to encourage public input into the development of federally funded multi-modal transportation projects.

Representatives from the city and Barton and Loguidice D.P.C., will be available at the meeting to answer questions and obtain comments on the proposed project.

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Mile of walking trails proposed for Thompson Park

in Place/Sports 265 views

The city has proposed adding more than a mile of paved trails in historic Thompson Park.

City Manager Kenneth A. Mix and Philip Sprague, chairman of Friends of Thompson Park, will make a presentation during Tuesday night’s work session about the paved trails that would cost $1,150,000 if all three proposed sections were completed.

All three trails are included in the park’s new master plan, Mix said.

“The need for the three trails have been discussed for a long time,” he said.

In July, the Friends of Thompson Park, a planning group for the park, discussed the three trails at its monthly meeting. Last week, the Friends adopted a resolution recommending that the trails be made a priority project.

This summer, council members appropriated $636,0000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for Thompson Park priority projects.

Design work would occur over the next several months and construction is planned for next year, Mix said.

About half of the mile in new trails would be created at the Gotham Street entrance and run along the west entrance road, now called Joseph M. Butler Jr. Drive. The cost would be $550,000.

That trail would give park-goers a place to walk other than in the road, he said.

At a cost of $240,000, the next section would be about 1,525 feet long and connect with the Rotary Exercise trail, while the third section proposes 1,130 feet of paved trail running parallel to Overlook Drive. That section would cost $360,000.

“They would tie everything to the rest of the park,” he said. “They will result in the western portion of the park being tied to the northern, central, and eastern parts.”

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Agriculture and tourism leaders want better for Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail

in Uncategorized 275 views

Local agricultural and tourism leaders are hoping to revive the languishing Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail.

Jay Matteson, agricultural coordinator for Jefferson County Economic Development, said that the wine trail has become just about dormant in recent years, but he hopes to uncork it once again.

“It’s just not as active as we would hope it would be,” he said. “We’d like to see if we can help save it.”

When it was first introduced in 2007, the idea was for wineries to work together to promote the trail to attract visitors and organize events with each other.

But over the years, wineries went their separate ways to work on their own to lure visitors.

And now Matteson plans to get together with Corey C. Fram, director of the Thousands Islands International Tourism Council, and Cornell Cooperative Extension officials to see what can be done to get it going again.

A couple of weeks ago, Matteson was asked about the status of the trail at a Jefferson County Agricultural Development Council meeting that he oversees.

Since then, he’s talked to a couple winery owners who told him that the trail is like an empty bottle of wine.

The wine trail was created in 2007 by an act of the state legislature, and it took another act to add to the original list. That legislation was passed and signed in 2021 to add two more wineries to the trail.

The Thousand Islands Winery in Alexandria Bay, the first winery that opened in the north country 20 years ago, was a driving force on the trail when it began.

But the A-Bay winery lost interest in the venture several years ago, when there was talk about adding breweries and distilleries to the trail, said Nicholas Shanley, general manager of Thousand Islands Winery.

It seemed like the focus changed year to year for whatever was new and wineries were no longer as prominently promoted as they had been in the past, he said.

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