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Local projects win big in REDC awards

Rail Trail comes closer to being completed; arts venues receive grants

Representatives from the Capital District pose after the third round of Regional Economic Development Council were awarded Wednesday, Dec. 11. The Capital District was awarded $82.8 million for projects.

Representatives from the Capital District pose after the third round of Regional Economic Development Council were awarded Wednesday, Dec. 11. The Capital District was awarded $82.8 million for projects.

— Nearly $83 million will flow to the Capital Region through the latest round of Regional Economic Development Council awards, and nearly 30 projects in Albany County nabbed funding. Most of them focused on highlighted projects, but several local priorities were also granted funding.

Progress along the Albany County Rail Tail will continue, with $1 million awarded to help construct a 5.5-mile portion of the trail from the City of Albany to the Town of Bethlehem. The funds will be used towards the final design and construction of the pathway, which has been a recent priority for county officials after opening a new 3-mile section of the trail in December through the Village of Voorheesville and Town of New Scotland last month.

Mary Rozak, spokeswoman for the county executive, said completing the trail from Albany to Bethlehem would require around $3.5 million, so efforts to obtain additional grant funding will continue, along with trail partners raising funds.

“As design and construction is outlined, it will be prioritized (by) what makes sense to use the (REDC funding) for to maximize results,” Rozak said. “Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is thrilled that the grant money is going to help with a project that has been underway for many years — a project that is critical to our tourism and critical towards our conservation, preservation and open space efforts.”

The county Rail Trail will stretch 9.3 miles once completed and encompass approximately 117 acres.

“That would just be an incredible distance and an incredible attraction not only for residents, but (also) for visitors to the area,” Rozak said.

Expected outcomes of completing the trail are improved mobility and economic opportunity for people that do not drive, providing better option for commuters traveling on foot or by bicycle, reducing emissions and improved economic activity along the trail corridor.

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