County Executive George Latimer announced an $8.7 million commitment to make improvements to the 22-mile North County Trailway, a paved multi-use path that has been popular for cyclists and pedestrians.
The money for the trailway, which runs from Eastview at the Greenburgh-Mount Pleasant border northward to the Putnam County line, was recently appropriated by the Board of Legislators from a larger pot of capital projects for 2019.
“This is an investment that’s important not only to the people who use it but it’s a statement about Westchester County maintaining the assets that it has and valuing the assets that it has,” Latimer said at a Feb. 22 press conference on the trailway in Mount Pleasant.
Latimer said work, which recently started near the southern end, will include complete rehabilitation of the trail’s surface, including full-depth asphalt where required and a top layer in other areas, and root removal and pruning of trees along the route.
Other tasks include rebuilding and reshaping swales to direct water away from the trail’s surface, cleaning or replacing culverts to improve drainage and various safety enhancements, including the replacement of nearly all of the fencing along the trail. Wayfinding signs will also be introduced at various points along the route.
The Board of Legislators’ expenditure also includes $300,000 to pay for the design of planned improvements for the South County Trailway, which runs from Eastview southward to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. That work will commence shortly after the North County Trailway is completed next year.
Work on the trail is expected to take up to 14 months to finish, said Kathy O’Connor, commissioner of the Westchester County Parks Department. She called the trailway one of the county’s “most prized possessions.”
“We are thrilled to death that this project is getting off the ground,” O’Connor said.
In addition to work on the trails, some of the parking lots at various points will also be revamped, she said.
There will be closures of the trail in sections as work progresses, according to O’Connor. She urged the public to check the county’s social media posts when the closure of a section is scheduled. The county will also be posting signs when a section is slated to be shut.
Last Friday, representatives of several biking groups attended the press conference to support what they described as the county’s long overdue commitment to do the work. Christine Schopen, president of the Westchester Cycle Club, said the project is critically important because the trail is a great resource for the county and its residents.
“It’s a destination for a lot of people,” Schopen said. “We’re really proud of it. It’s beautiful. We use it all the time.”
Bill Dennison of the Yonkers Bike Club said using the trailway is a great way to take in Westchester County.
“We want to thank you very much for doing this, especially the folks from the DPW, who maintain the trail all the time,” Dennison told county officials. “They do a great job.”