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Bay to Sound trail project gets state funding

Southold Town has received additional state funding for the Bay to Sound trail project. On Tuesday, the Town Board approved a resolution accepting $171,963.07 in state grant money, and two other project-related resolutions. 

“We received grants two years in a row for different parts of the project,” said John Sepenoski of the town’s geographic information systems.

Now that the town has received a formal contract from New York State, development of the trail can be set up as a capital project, Mr. Sepenoski said. 

Another resolution passed Tuesday allows Supervisor Scott Russell to execute a future contract with the state Department of State to accept a second grant, which will be used for Phase 3 of the project. A final resolution was passed authorizing the town clerk to advertise for a Request for Proposals for lumber and other materials for Phase 2. According to Mr. Sepenoski, both phases of the project are “moving forward concurrently.” He said the grant will help pay for hiring Group for the East End, an environmental advocacy organization, to coordinate cleanup days and develop educational materials for the trails. 

“Right now they’re working on the fall schedule,” Mr. Sepenoski said Tuesday. “Our focus is shifting from clearing trails and trash cleanup to getting wood chips down,” he said, noting that much of the proposed trail is already clear.

This fall, at least one cleanup of Silver Lake in Greenport is planned, he said. In addition to trail clearing and trash pickup, Phase 2 of the project will include creating a parking area and footbridge near Old Main Road in Southold, removing part of an abandoned section of roadway and taking down a home on the 24-acre Sill property, which was acquired by the town in 2011.

“We’re on schedule to have that done this year,” Mr. Sepenoski said.

Phase 3, he said, will involve a thorough cleanup at the former Sill dairy farm and structures, including dairy barns, sheds and silos. 

To date, crews have removed over 12,000 pounds of trash from proposed trail areas, Mr. Sepenoski said.

The project currently has no end date but he expects both phases to be complete by 2020.

Mr. Sepenoski, along with town officials and volunteers working on the project, are staying the course toward that goal. “We have a lot of public open space, but thought it would be nice to connect it into a bigger overall trail system,” Mr. Sepenoski said.

Mr. Russell agrees. “The goal of linking the bay to the Sound along a trail that runs through some of the nicest preserved land in town is well worth the effort,” he said.

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