December 5, 2021

Cortland gets $4.8M for bike/pedestrian trail

The city of Cortland has received $4.8 million in state and federal funds to tie together a series of infrastructure projects to connect SUNY Cortland, Main Street and Yaman Park, featuring a bike and pedestrian path.

The city has already secured eight grants or loans for the network of green infrastructure projects, said city Director of Administration and Finance Mack Cook. This latest grant marks the ninth, and it will connect all the other projects as part of the Northeast Gateway Intermodal Corridor.

“The original concept started as a way to connect SUNY Cortland, Main Street and much of the city into an interconnective walkway pathway with the destination being Yaman Park to the east and SUNY to the west,” Cook said Friday. “This puts it all together. It fills in gaps that we have in physical locations and in our funding.”

The money is part of $144.6 million awarded for 72 projects around the state, and $12 million for five Central New York projects.

“New York state is making historic, nation-leading investments in cleaner and more sustainable transportation infrastructure, which is crucial to the growth of local economies,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in announcing the grants. “These investments in bike and pedestrian enhancements across the state will help revitalize communities, reduce our carbon footprint and demonstrate once again that New York is building for the future.”

Part of the overall project will create walking and cycling trails from SUNY Cortland, along Clinton Avenue and across the Tioughnioga River to Yaman Park. In addition, the city will replace water and sewer lines in the area that haven’t been replaced since 1904.

“So this allows us to address many of the problems that are facing many of upstate New York’s cities such aging infrastructure,” Cook said. “The footprint of all these streets hasn’t changed, but how we use streets has changed. So it allows us to adapt to how people get around today.”

The project is also intended to improve the appearance of the city as drivers approach downtown along Clinton Avenue.

The overall project, seven years in the making, has been entirely funded by state and federal grants or loans, Cook said.

Frank Kelly, a longtime member of the city’s environmental advisory committee, said he was pleased to see the plan finally coming together.

“It’s a terrific idea,” he said.