September 28, 2021

Trail to connect Lime Hollow, Gutchess

An easement between Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex and Lime Hollow Nature Center will create a half-mile trail that could allow Homer High School to host state high school cross-country championships.

The Cortlandville Town Board voted Wednesday, 5-0, to approve a long-term easement through parcels of land that Byrne Dairy and Redding Hunter own between Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex and Lime Hollow Nature Center.

The board also discussed expanding recreational facilities at the town park, adding bocci and pickleball courts, and horseshoe pits.

With the start of the cross-country season a month away, word of the town’s decision came as a relief Thursday for high school Athletic Director Todd Lisi.

“I’m excited,” Lisi said. “It’s definitely something I can look forward to.”

Lisi said the season begins Aug. 23 and the new part of the trail must be prepared before then.

“That’s a great opportunity,” cross-country Coach Jim Baldwin said Thursday. “It’s a great facility. It has great parking.”

Baldwin said there will be three home competitions and he is hoping the course will be ready in time.

Town Supervisor Tom Williams said Wednesday the town and Lime Hollow will push to meet the deadline.

He said the town will pay legal costs and its highway crew will help create the half-mile of trail on a 25- to 30- foot easement. The town will also do the paving and other work to create the recreation area to be named Citizens Sports Complex, Williams said.

He said the work would be done by town employees.

The right-of-way will allow the cross country teams to use Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex facilities, including parking lots, restrooms and a pavilion.

Lisi said this will not only benefit the cross-country team, but may put Homer High School in position to host the state high school cross-country championships.

Homer cross-country teams had used Lime Hollow trails in the past but did not have access to Gutchess Lumber Sports Complex, which opened two years ago.

Machell Phelps, executive director of the Cortland Regional Sports Council, said her group has been working with Homer High School and other groups on the trail project for more than a year.

“We’re trying to make more things that are accessible to the public,” said Phelps, who handles marketing for the sports complex.

The cross-country team has used the nature center’s trails for 10 or 12 years, but had outgrown the parking and bathroom facilities for competitions, said Glenn Reisweber, executive director of Lime Hollow.

“We love having them,” he said. “They are great partners.”

He said the teams help maintain trails and participate in other events.

The cross-country course will be completely new, beginning and ending at the sports complex, Reisweber said.

The boys and girls varsity teams will use a 5-kilometer trail and the modified team a 2.5-kilometer course. Other than the new portion being created by the town along an old farm trail, the course will use existing trails through Lime Hollow, town and county land, Reisweber said.

It includes a portion of the county-owned Lehigh Valley trail, a 107-acre parcel the town bought two years ago to protect one of its wellheads off Lime Hollow Road, Lime Hollow Nature Center trails and property owned by Byrne and Redding Hunter.

“The beauty of this is all of these players working together,” Reisweber said.