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Fulton County to purchase more property for Rail Trail system

JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 15 voted to purchase two town of Mayfield parcels for a total of $9,600 to continue expansion of the county Rail Trail system.

The available right-of-way properties are located between Route 349 and Warren Road, and between Sand Hill and Nine Mile Tree roads.

“I think the Rail Trail is one of the beloved assets of our county,” said Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Gregory Young.

The board also authorized a $2,300 contract with Johnstown-based Ferguson and Foss Land Surveyors for necessary updated survey and deed description work related to the purchases.

Fulton County’s Vision 2026 Development Strategy recommends completion of the FJ&G Trail. The county’s 2019 capital plan contains a $60,000 appropriation for completion of the trail. The resolution approved Oct. 15 by the board at the County Office Building indicates that the Delaware Otsego Corp. has agreed to sell two parcels “that could advance future completion of the trail.”

County Attorney Jason Brott recommended the updated survey by Ferguson and Foss Land Surveyors once the seller had agreed to the sale.

Supervisors executed a purchase agreement with the Delaware Otsego Corp. to have the county pay $1,500 per acre for the two Mayfield parcels. The county will be paying $5,700 for one 3.8-acre (2,600-foot) parcel; and $3,900 for one 2.6-acre (1,660-foot) parcel.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the Board of Supervisors’ committees involved in the Rail Trail issue wanted the survey done first before purchase of the parcels.

“The committees also recommended a price to the Board of Supervisors, to the sellers,” he said.

But Stead said the Delaware Otsego Corp. “got right back” to county Planning Director Scott Henze two weeks ago, agreeing to the county’s price.

“In reality, it’s a done agreement,” he said. “It’s really the same result. It’s just in the opposite order.”

The first stages of the Fulton County Rail Trail were started in the late 1980s. But county officials have for years been trying to develop a long-broken link in the trail toward eventual completion of a roughly 22-mile recreation path. There remains a privately-owned five-mile stretch that mostly runs through the town of Mayfield. It would connect an existing 10-mile path that runs through Gloversville and Johnstown with a two-mile section in Vail Mills.

The trail’s right of way in Mayfield fell into the hands of a half-dozen private owners in the 1980s when the town declined the right of first refusal to take over that section of the former FJ&G railroad. When the Rail Trail project began in the 1990s, it stalled near the town border, when the land owners wouldn’t allow development on the railroad’s former right of way.

To the south, there is about 4.5 miles of potential trail between Union Avenue Extension in Johnstown to Route 5 in Fonda.

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