ELIZABETHTOWN — The Town of Elizabethtown was awarded a $250,000 infrastructure grant from Northern Border Regional Commission.
"We were thrilled to receive this news,” Town Board member Jeff Allott said.
"It’s a significant sign of support that our efforts here are getting noticed and that our momentum is building."
The grants are earmarked for infrastructure connected to the town’s efforts in building and upgrading its recreation economy, according to a news release.
"There are provisions for bike paths that connect trail systems like the town-owned Blueberry Trails to downtown, along with funds for signage, instructive kiosks, and a public pavilion to anchor it all,” Allot said.
Aaron Woolf, a partner of the historic Deer’s Head Inn, helped spearhead the effort along with Allott.
“Elizabethtown has been quietly building first-rate trails for years. By connecting them to our downtown economy, we can capitalize on those investments. The enthusiasm for biking is really putting E’town on the map in a new and exciting way.” Woolf said.
Town Supervisor Noel Merrihew echoed the enthusiasm.
"The recreation economy is a win-win for our town, providing benefits for both residents and visitors alike. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support,” Merrihew said.
The grant provides funding to help connect the newly consolidated Boquet Valley Central School District to nearly 1,400 acres of trails, building upon its unique mountain biking program.
“Being able to get the students out on trail in a 40 minute physical education period is a game changer,” BVCS Athletic Director Paul Beuhler said.
The selection process was competitive. In preparing the application, Allott and Woolf counted on bipartisan support from the Congressional delegation.
"Senator (Kirsten) Gillibrand ( D-NY ) wrote an enthusiastic letter on our behalf, as did Congresswoman (Elise) Stefanik (R-Schuylerville). It’s great to have a bipartisan nod from our representatives in this polarized climate,” Allott said.
The town was also supported in its submission by the Northern Forest Center, a regional innovation and investment partner creating rural vitality by connecting people and economy to the forested landscape.
NBRC received 152 applications this year for the State Economic & Infrastructure Development grant, requesting more than $43 million in funding.
NBRC chose 45 applications, funding only 28 percent of all applications.
A total of just under $14 million was awarded for federal fiscal year 2019 in this program.