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Columbia County unsure of $2 million trail project on Hudson Landfill

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    The Hudson North Bay seen from the former Hudson Landfill.
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    A proposed view of one of the trails that could tentatively be built across the former Hudson Landfill for about $2 million.
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    The proposed design for two trails crossing the former Hudson Landfill connecting the Greenport Conservation Area to North Second Street in Hudson.
December 4, 2018 10:06 pm

HUDSON — After two years of studying and planning, Columbia County has a tentative $2 million plan for transforming the Hudson Landfill into a walking trail, but county officials said they are reluctant to commit the funding.

Columbia County Solid Waste Department Director Jolene Race presented plans to town supervisors on the county Public Works Committee at their meeting Nov. 28.

But following the presentation, the supervisors on the committee discussed what to do next. Most of them agreed the county does not want to embark on a $2 million project.

Flood recommended the county not move forward with the plan, which the county is not required to do.

“Let’s just put this to bed for now,” said Claverack Town Supervisor Clifford “Kippy” Weigelt. “Good work. I am glad it is done.”

Stuyvesant Town Supervisor Ronald Knott, who chairs the Public Works Committee, has been looking for an outside organization to take over the project, he said.

“I talked to the mayor of Hudson and it does not seem that the city is interested in taking on the project,” Knott said. “I have been talking to the Columbia Land Conservancy to take it over. For a license and a grant, somebody else can do this.”

Knott suggested any organization that takes over the project could get a license from the county to take over the landfill, including liability for the property. The Hudson River Valley Greenway, which is building the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, made a similar agreement with National Grid to use the right-of-way along the Albany-Hudson rail corridor that will be most of the pathway of the trail.

The county was promised two years ago a $131,000 grant from the state Office of Parks and Recreation to reimburse the county for conducting a feasibility study and to develop a working plan to turn the out-of-service landfill, which was closed in 1988, into a park with walking trails that will connect the Greenport Conservation Area to a parking area on North Second Street.

Kenneth Flood, who consulted the county on the study and planning, told supervisors that the process is coming to a close and that the county can submit for reimbursement by the end of the year.

“We are pretty confident that there will only be minor modifications to the plan,” Race said. “We are waiting for feedback from the [state Department of Environmental Conservation].”

The county is awaiting feedback from DEC on leachate issues with the landfill.

“At this point, the leachate seeps are along the toe slope of the landfill, which runs along the proposed [Americans with Disabilities Act] access trail,” Race said Friday. “The seeps will need to be remediated so the public does not come into contact with them. Again, no final decision has been communicated to the county as to how we will be expected to handle this.”

The plan involves two trails: an approximate 400-foot, ADA-compliant trail that runs along the base of the landfill with a view of adjacent wetlands and an overlook structure to provide a view of the Hudson North Bay, depending on the final approvals from the DEC. The other is an approximate 1,000-foot trail that runs along the top of the landfill cap, depending on final approvals.

The trails will be limited to pedestrians and closed to bicycles, similar to the Greenport Conservation Area, because bicycles will be too rough for the landfill cap to handle, Flood said.

The trail will also connect with part of the state’s Empire State Trail project announced in the summer of 2017, called the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, which is proposed to come out at the parking lot on North Second Street.