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Norwood-Norfolk Central School receives help for rail trail project

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NORFOLK - A proposal to create a rail trail at the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District has received a boost from the United States Department of the Interior.

Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie said she had written on July 6 asking for assistance through the National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Norfolk Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice and Norwood Mayor James H. McFaddin “signed the letter with me as a cooperative effort,” she said.

Ms. Kirnie said she received word this month that their request had been accepted.

“We did get a National Park Service grant,” she said. “I was requesting technical assistance. I mentioned to them that we were around the edges of trying to get a recreational trail around the railroad tracks.”

A Nov. 8 letter to Ms. Kirnie from David A. Lange, program leader for the RTCA program, said the district had received “an award of consultation-level planning assistance” for the proposed rail trail project.

“In the RTCA program, ‘consultation’ is short-term assistance that generally includes one or two site visits to assess the project area, meet with project proponents and community representatives, and provide resources and advice regarding planning and implementation strategies,” Mr. Lange said.

Karl Beard, the project manager, will provide assistance during the 2013 federal fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2013.

“The grant is non-monetary. They are offering the assistance of the Department of Interior,” Ms. Kirnie said.

The trail would be in the vicinity of a rail line that goes through the playground. Vermont Rail leases the property from the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.

Ms. Kirnie said the project, which would create an all-season recreational trail that could be used for activities such as snowshoeing, cross-country running, walking and running would make sense because they’ve been discouraged from using Route 56 in front of the school for recreation.

“It would be a definite benefit,” she said. ““We were told by DOT, no sidewalks, no recreation on 56. This is one possibility. We don’t have a lot of alternatives.”

The project would be for the Norwood and Norfolk community as a whole and not just the school district, according to the superintendent.

“I see it as something not only important for the school. I see it as important for the community. I see it as a cooperative effort,” she said.

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