Town gears up for Wheelerville Trails

Shown are Caroga Town Board members John Glenn, left, Supervisor Scott Horton and James Long, right, during their regular board meeting on Wednesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

CAROGA –The town is moving forward into the next phase of its plans for the Wheelerville Bike Trail by establishing temporary positions to construct the trails.

During the town board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, board members passed a resolution appointing Jeremy Manning as trail director, authorizing him to take the lead and oversee the hiring process for additional temporary positions, including senior lead trail builder, assistant lead trail builder and trail laborers.

The town was recently awarded an approximately $64,000 Smart Growth Implementation Grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for construction of the trails. The project will include five to six miles of a variety of different trails that will vary at different levels of difficulty. The recreation trails, which will be machine- and hand-built could be used for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, running, hiking and biking. The system will be a non-motorized trail system. The grant the town received gives funding for non-motorized projects.

“The phase we’re at tonight is that we have to get these positions established with the town,” Manning said. “We have to establish trail director position, two lead trail builder positions and also laborer positions.”

He said they would be looking for up to four laborers. Two each to work with the two lead trail builders.

Former Caroga board member Jeremy Manning attended the town board's regular meeting on Wednesday to continue working with the town on the Wheelerville Bike Trails project. The town board passed a resolution during the meeting naming Manning as the project director. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

Manning said the town would have the option to hire out through a separate contractor or have people work in house. Because of prevailing wage, Manning said it would be cheaper to hire employees and pay them a wage rather than getting contractor and paying them more.

Once these positions have been established, the next steps would include planning out when to begin building the trails which will be very weather dependent, and how to go about the process and what machinery will be used.

The town will be working with the Adirondack Foothills Trails Alliance who will provide two “of the best trail builders probably in New York state,” Manning said.

“People travel to ride their trails because of the names of the people who build them,” Manning said. “When people see their names, when they see who built [the trail] they’re going to come from all over to ride.”

Manning said depending on the skill set, he’d be interested in hiring people within the town to take the laborer positions.

“You really want people who know how to build bike trails,” Manning said. “We’re going to be in a tight build window and we don’t want to have a huge learning curve. You want to make sure those guys can go in knowing what they’re going to do. Generally the guys who do the work are riders themselves who know what they’re looking for.”

He said there will be an application process for the laborers.