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Canton awaits word on grant for pedestrian bridge

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CANTON — Town officials expect to find out in the next few months whether the town will be awarded a $1.9 million state grant to construct a pedestrian bridge linking Bend in the River Park with Maple Hill Properties on the south side of the village.

Canton Economic Development Director Linda M. McQuinn applied for the grant two months ago through the state Department of Transportation, which awards Transportation Enhancement Projects that support non-motorized pedestrian travel.

A second project being considered by Canton officials involves affixing a walkway beneath the U.S. Route 11 bridge to link Heritage Park with Canton Island Park.

The projects are in line with recommendations made in both the Canton Community Action Plan and the Canton Waterfront Revitalization document.

Both projects were outlined Tuesday evening during a presentation made by Jeffrey B. Nadge, a landscape architect from Barton & Loguidice, the Syracuse firm hired to conduct a feasibility study to examine the cost and scope of the two projects.

About 15 people attended the session to review maps and diagrams and offer input.

“Basically, we’re at the very early stages,” Mr. Nadge said. “Before we go further, we want to collect some feedback. There’s a lot of things about these sites we might not know.”

The two bridges would increase public access to the Grasse River and could lead to more opportunities for fishing, boating and other recreational activities, he said.

Although there is a paved walkway at Bend in the River Park on Outer Lincoln Street, Mr. Nadge said the public is prohibited from using the water.

“It’s a waterfront park, but there’s no wading, swimming or boating,” he said.

The village owns a swath of waterfront property directly across from Bend in the River Park that could be developed for public recreation, such as a public beach.

The pedestrian bridge at Bend in the River Park could include extending village water and sewer lines to Maple Hill Properties, a 72-acre lot co-owned by Ted L. Lawrence and Brian W. Staples that includes a mix of commercial and residential parcels.

The large amount of bedrock in the area has been problematic for developers and homeowners because they need to install private wells and septic systems.

“If water and service were expanded in that area, we know there could be a great deal more development there,” Mrs. McQuinn said.

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