The county legislature on Tuesday, Nov. 14 voted 14-7 to remove some 11 miles of county-owned Ulster and Delaware rails and ties to make way for the construction of a hiking/biking trail around the northern end of the Ashokan Reservoir.
Project costs for the trail are estimated at some $9.3 million with about half being funded by the New York City Department of Environmental Preservation, which owns the reservoir.
Rail supporters had hoped to retain an 1.1 mile stretch of rail ending at the Glenford Dike in order to extend Catskill Mountain Railroad scenic rides to view the reservoir.
The legislation approved Tuesday night fulfills a December 2016 compromise which allowed CMRR to operate its tourist trains from Kingston to West Hurley while the county moved forward with plans to establish the Ashokan hiking/biking trail.
Kingston legislators Jennifer Schwartz Berky and Peter Loughran, both of whom will not be on the legislature in 2018, were absent.
Voting against the proposal on the Republican side were Mary Wawro, Dean Fabiano, Ronald Lapp and Richard Parete. Also voting no were Democrats Dave Donaldson, Manna Jo Greene and John Parete.
Separate votes on construction amendments were approved 15-6, with Richard Parete joining the majority.
During public comment, 41 persons spoke in favor of the compromise legislation, nine to preserve the train tracks.
About 100 union construction workers attended the meeting in support of the legislation.
The legislature unanimously approved a $420,000 bond issue to finance construction of a restorative justice center at the county probation office on upper Broadway in Kingston.