December 5, 2021

Homer village working on river project

Karina Murphy has lived in Cortland since the mid-1990s. One of her favorite things to do in the summer is to launch canoes in the Tioughnioga River.

However, there are few launch sites. She knows of just Yaman Park and a spot in Truxton.

“It’s underdeveloped,” she said.

The village of Homer is working to improve the river with other municipalities, including the town of Homer and city of Cortland, by developing a local water revitalization project plan, which looks at land and water use to come up with ways to improve the waterfront. Putting together a plan would allow for the municipalities to compete for funding through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

It’s something the city of Cortland got grant money for, said Mayor Brian Tobin, noting he doesn’t remember the exact amount of the grant but that it was under $100,000.

“It’s (the plan) the first step in terms of a planning process,” Tobin said.

Tobin said two things should be done when thinking about developing the river: providing access to the river and promoting that access.

The plans should “make it more of an attraction to a larger segment of the population,” he said.

Earlier this month, the Homer village board received and reviewed the results of a survey to see what people were interested in doing along the river.

More than 200 people responded, of which 90% of whom were from the village, according to the survey. The idea of creating a walking trail from Durkee Park to Route 11 Ribbon Park ranked of most importance to people.

“However, a number of respondents expressed confusion at what and where Ribbon Park is,” the survey states. “Residents suggested that a walking trail should have trees, greenery, picnic tables, and benches spaced at regular intervals to improve both the appearance and function of the park.”

Two projects tied for second in the poll: increasing the view of the river from parks; and more recreational activities. It also included a strong support for creating a bike lane along Route 11.

Honoring the village’s heritage ranked the lowest for all project ideas.

Murphy said she would love a walking trail and laments that the county doesn’t have one.

“That would be perfect,” she said, noting she likes to visit the Dryden Rail Trail. “I think it would improve the quality of life for so many people.”