The first portion of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail was officially opened on Saturday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Cass Park. Currently running through the Cass Park area, when completed the trail will span six miles along the waterfront from Stewart Park to Allan H. Treman State Marine Park and provide recreational access to the waterfront as well as more pedestrian traffic to area businesses and the Farmer’s Market.
The ceremony was organized by the Cayuga Waterfront committee and attended by local donors as well political figures, including Mayor Alan Cohen ’81 and State Senator Randy Kuhl. After a few words from the officials, the new kiosk with the trail map was unveiled and a small parade led by an Ithaca Police Officer inaugurated the trail by walking and biking along the completed Cass Park section.
“The trail will improve the general quality of life for local residents,” said organizer Rick Manning. “It will help beautify our waterfront and serve as a interest point for tourists.”
The trail has been financed by a combination of sources, though funding has still not been secured for the remaining portion. The New York State Clean Air Clean Water Bond Act provided $160,00 which was matched by $250,000 from the City of Ithaca and $75,000 from over 300 individual contributions.
Chamber of Commerce President Gene McPheeters emphasized the benefits of the trail.
“I think the most obvious benefit is recreation, it’s a really great place to take a walk or to take your kids, Cass Park specifically. What it will do is help connect people with the water, the whole six mile trail. Very lovely places like Stewart Park or the Farmer’s Market are more accessible. When we complete the entire six mile lane it will connect our waterfront and increase the traffic for local businesses.”
Despite the many benefits of the trail, the organizers are still seeking funding for the remaining half of the trail.
“The Cass Park Section will be done this year, but for the rest, it really depends on funding,” said Manning. “I would say in three or four years but it is dependent on getting significant grants in a rather unpredictable grant environment right now.”
Part of the financing comes from paving stones that can be purchased starting at $50 to be engraved with the donor’s name and places in the path. McPheeters agreed that the process will likely be prolonged.
“We have applied for a federal transportation grant, we’ll hear within two weeks, and that grant will require us to match with more funds raised locally. If everything goes well, the section between Cass Park and the Farmer’s Market will be opened in 2004 or 2005.”
Archived article by Gautham Nagesh