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Oneida Rail Trail project receives grant to build new website

The Oneida Improvement Committee has received a grant, which the organization says will help promote efforts to build an 11-mile multi-use trail network surrounding the city.

Committee member Patti Meakin says the $1,500 grant from Parks and Trails New York will be used to communicate with the public and solicit donations.

"Right now, we don't have a website for the rail trail," Meakin said. "So, with this we'll be able to create a website and people will be able to see the progress we're making. They can donate to the trail. They can have their money go to a specific project, if they want to do benches or signage."

The $770,000 rail trail project has already received funding from the Department of Transportation for three miles of trail, with the stipulation that it complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Meakin says the grants are a win-win for the community.

"State and federally, they're pushing communities to use this funding to get outside and bring economic development into the areas because it's proven to work," Meakin said. "Also, it'll go right through our downtown. We see it as a big part of downtown revitalization for the city of Oneida."

Meakin says the plan for the rail trail loop uses three abandoned railroads that form a triangle around the city. It would also connect to the Eric Canalway Trail in the village of Wampsville.

The Oneida Improvement Committee is one of eight non-profit organizations splitting nearly $15,000 in grants provided by Parks and Trails New York, a statewide advocacy group that supports state park recruiting efforts and other projects not covered by existing grants.