Wilson Foundation Awards $6.4 Million for Empire State Trail Projects

Wilson Foundation Awards $6.4 Million for Empire State Trail Projects

The office of New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a $6.4 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation in support of improvements to portions of the Empire State Trail in western New York.

Slated to be complete in late 2020, the trail will be the longest multi-use trail in the nation, comprising a continuous 750-mile route spanning the state from New York City in the south to the Canadian border in the north and from Albany in the east to Buffalo in the west. The grant from the Wilson Foundation includes $2.5 million in support of projects along the Genesee Valley Greenway such as resurfacing, infrastructure improvements, parking lot improvements, and improved access for people with disabilities; and $1.4 million in support of projects along the Niagara Shoreline Trail, including a study on how to close gaps and repair an impassable section of the trail.

Contingent on the state securing matching funds, the Wilson Foundation has committed an additional $2.5 million in support of further Greenway improvements. Cuomo also announced an additional $4 million in state funding for the project.

"The Genesee Valley Greenway is an incredible natural greenway that connects communities from Monroe to Cattaraugus counties and has the potential to link two beautiful state parks together in western New York," said Wilson Foundation president and CEO David O. Egner. "We're proud to support this important connection to the Empire State Trail, which will further improve the recreational, transportation, and economic development opportunities for the many communities along the [trail]."

"This support from the Wilson Foundation, coupled with new state funding, will help repair, enhance, and expand recreational opportunities on these multi-use paths in two beautiful parts of western New York, which Ralph Wilson loved so much," said Cuomo. "His legacy will strengthen tourism, increase safety for bicyclists and hikers, and further revitalize communities that are better connected."

(Photo credit: Brian Sipos)