MOUNTAINDALE, NY — When area leaders gathered last Friday, August 20, celebrating $1.1 million received in federal funding for the O&W Rail Trail, they praised the benefits the trail would …
MOUNTAINDALE, NY — When area leaders gathered last Friday, August 20, celebrating $1.1 million received in federal funding for the O&W Rail Trail, they praised the benefits the trail would bring to the Sullivan County region—the tourism it would attract, the opportunities for healthy exercise it would offer, and the economic boon it would be for the region.
They praised as well the governmental process that had brought them there, and the bipartisanship which made the vision of the trail a reality.
Plans for the O&W Rail Trail, a hiking and biking trail following the path of the New York Ontario and Western Railway, had been in the works for decades. The $1.1 million in federal funding recently secured by Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) helped move the project toward completion, helping finalize (among other aspects of the project) a planned bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting existing segments to form a continuous trail between Mountaindale and Liberty.
The trail provided a significant economic boon to the towns through which it passed, said NY State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. When tourists came to use the trail, they looked to stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and visit other local sites.
In addition, the trail offered opportunities for Sullivan County residents to exercise and to get fresh air, and promoted the natural resources and the natural beauty of the area. “It’s much more than just a trail,” said Gunther.
Despite his role in securing the last dose of the funding, Delgado said the credit for the trail had to lie with the leaders and the residents of Sullivan County; “You all came to me, and said, ‘Can you secure the funding?’ The work had already been done.”
NY State Senator Mike Martucci echoed Delgado’s remarks, praising the collaboration between local leaders which had brought the trail into being.
“This is a project all about focusing on the needs of Sullivan County,” he said. “It’s not about being Democrats or Republicans, it’s not about what’s going on in the political environment today, it’s about doing the right thing.”
County legislative chair Rob Doherty, too, praised the bi-partisan process of the trail’s creation. “I’m a Republican,” he said. “Mr. Delgado’s a Democrat. We shouldn’t agree on anything, but we do. We agree on a lot of things, and this is a good example of one of the things we agree on.”