CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Town officials closed out a busy year describing how the town’s management of grant money continues to improve residents’ lives and why the municipality is applying for more.
In two presentations at the Dec. 17 Town Board meeting, Planning Director John Scavo discussed seven grant-funded projects either completed or underway and five new grant applications recently submitted on the town’s behalf.
With $50,000 in hand from a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant, the town improved the lighting in its ice arena and at the basketball courts on the Common. With new LED lights in place the town saves on utility costs and reduces energy use.
Using a $416,000 Scenic Byway grant and combining that with a $75,000 state Canal Corporation grant, the town has built a parking area on Clute’s Dry Dock on Riverview Road. As the final part of the project, the town will build a pedestrian bridge over the old Erie Canal to the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Erie Canal Connector Trail in the coming year.
The pedestrian bridge will allow those who wish to walk only part of the trail to park at Clute’s Dry Dock and easily get to the connector trail which is in fact, the old canal towpath. The connector trail between the two towns was completed in 2017 and is the result of a $1.68 million grant.
The third award discussed involved planned improvements to Sitterly Road. With $1.82 million in state funding in hand and $100,000 more to come, the towns of Clifton Park and Halfmoon will install two, technologically advanced traffic signals and add three turning lanes to move vehicles smoothly over the busy east-west road.
Another project scheduled for 2019 is an improved parking area for school buses at the Dwaas Kill Nature Preserve trailhead on Pierce Road. In discussing the project Scavo described the preserve as a “living classroom”, one that draws students from a number of nearby schools.
With an $843,000 Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant to improve air quality, the town will continue construction of the Crescent Trail along Crescent Road. The design for the trail addition is to be done in 2019 with construction scheduled for 2020.
“This is a TAP CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program) grant,” Scavo said. “We can show air quality improvements through the number of pedestrians who use the trails.”
The final three grant-funded projects discussed at the meeting centered on sidewalks and enhanced pedestrian crossings at several locations in town.
With $400,000 in grant money awarded this fall, the town is planning to install rapid flashing beacons at six crosswalks. Unlike the continuous flashing yellow lights, most commonly, seen at school crossings, the rapid flashing beacons are activated only when a pedestrian pushes a button.
The sites chosen for the beacons are the crosswalks on Clifton Park Center Road, Moe Road and Clifton Park Center Road, Clifton Country Road and Clifton Park Center Road, the traffic signal on Clifton Park Center Road between the Clifton Park Center and the Village Plaza, and the signal at the rear entrance to Clifton Park Center and the Stewart’s Shop on Sitterly Road.
The project also includes a final pedestrian crosswalk improvement for the intersection at Grooms Road and Moe Road, where high visibility crosswalk material will be installed on the roadway along with a countdown signal.
In discussing the recent grant submittals, Scavo said the town has applied for five additional grants in the past few weeks. The grant applications seek money through the TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) program.
The five projects include funding for a single lane roundabout at the intersection of Tanner-Miller Road and Route 146 and bike and pedestrian access to a planned multi-use trail that will head west on the north side of Route 146. The trail is part of the proposed Route 146-Route 146A roundabout project.
In addition to bike and pedestrian access to the trail headed west, the town would also like to use the funds for a sidewalk from the roundabout, eastward to the Shenendehowa United Methodist Church on the north side of Route 146.
Also included in the applications were grant requests for funding for a multi-use trail connection on Grooms Road to Moe Road, sidewalk and crosswalks for Hatlee Road as it approaches the Main Street intersection in Jonesville, and sidewalks along Clifton Country Road between Clifton Park Center Road and Route 146.
“These (grant applications) all build on town initiatives like the trail system and our improved pedestrian safety programs and the DOT roundabout project,” said Town Supervisor Philip Barrett.