GLENS FALLS -- Glens Falls and Queensbury officials on Friday announced an agreement to open two sections of city-owned watershed property in the town for public recreation.
The town will develop two public walking and bicycle trails on the city-owned wooded property, one trail circling Butler Pond and the other along Halfway Brook.
City and town officials have negotiated for years to open the watershed property, which has been closed to the public, for public recreation.
Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond said officials are signing a “memorandum of understanding” that establishes the framework for allowing the town to develop trails on the property while the city retains logging and water rights.
“We’re putting our ink to it, and we’re making a commitment to get it done,” Diamond said, at a joint press conference with Queensbury Supervisor John Strough and Deputy Supervisor Ron Montesi at City Hall on Friday.
Queensbury will seek grants, to be supplemented with town recreation fund money, to develop the trails in the style of the town’s Rush Pond trail system, Strough said.
A 4.7-mile Butler Pond loop trail will be open to public for walking and bicycling in the spring, summer and fall.
It will be closed to walkers and bicyclists in the winter because a portion of trail is on the Warren County snowmobile route, Strough said.
Just Beverages, a start-up water packaging company in Glens Falls, has agreed to construct a parking area and compost toilet facility at the entrance to the watershed property off Butler Pond Road, Strough said.
It has not yet been determined whether fishing and non-motorized boating will be allowed on Butler Pond, Strough said.
“We’ll talk about those,” he said.
The 1.1-mile Halfway Brook Trail will be open year-round.
It will extend from Aviation Road to Peggy Ann Road, and include a bridge to be constructed over a swampy area.
A parking area the town will construct on Aviation Road will also be available for people using the town’s Rush Pond trail.
Town officials hope to negotiate with National Grid to establish a recreational trail along power company land between Peggy Ann Road and the Hudson River, Montesi said.
If successful, there would be a system of connected town and Warren County trails between Lake George and the Hudson River on the west side of the Northway.
“It’s interesting how creative you can get.” Montesi said.
A time frame for developing the trail system has not yet been determined.
“We’re going to have this done before I’m out of office, hopefully sooner,” said Diamond, who must leave office at the end of 2017 because of term limits.
Diamond and Strough said the agreement continues a pattern of collaboration between the city and the town.
The Queensbury High School hockey team uses the Glens Falls Recreation Center on Fire Road as its home ice, and the city, town and Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce are collaborating on a bid to host the state Special Olympics Winter Games.
“The majority of the Friends of Cole’s Woods board members are residents of Queensbury,” Diamond said, referring to the volunteer group that grooms the city-owned cross-country ski trail system and raises money for trail improvements.
The city and town are planning a joint project to extend sewer to the Carey Road industrial park in the town.
Follow staff writer Maury Thompson at the All Politics is Local blog on poststar.com, at PS_Politics on Twitter, and at Maury Thompson Post-Star on Facebook.