Scenic byway plan on track

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By Brian Sweeney
With resolutions from the towns of Shandaken and Olive supporting designation of Route 28 as a Scenic Byway, the plan is continuing to more forward.

Peter Manning, the planner who has been guiding the Scenic Byway effort for more than four years, told the News that with support resolutions secured this month from Shandaken and Olive, the Corridor Management Plan will be finalized and submitted to the NYS Scenic Byways Program. The program falls under the auspices of the state Department of Transportation (DOT) and officials there will now review the document.

“This portion of the process is expected to take some time,” he explained.
He estimated a review period of 6-12 months.

Other areas included
In addition to Route 28 being the primary focus of the Scenic Byway designation, the plan includes sections of Routes 28A, 214, 42, 30 and local roads (approximately 65 miles).

When the DOT completes its evaluation, recommendations will be returned to the proposed byway’s nominating committee. The group guiding the collaborative effort is comprised of Mr. Manning and representatives from the six municipalities supporting the plan — the towns of Andes, Middletown, Shandaken and Olive, and the villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville. The members will then adapt the plan to accommodate the changes and resubmit the document for official Scenic Byway designation by New York State.

While the review period is ongoing, Mr. Manning said the collaborative members will discuss the structure of the “management entity” which is sketched in the plan. The outline details the transition from the collaborative to a board of directors that will guide and promote the byway.

“This is the group that will sustain regional coordination, marketing, pursue funding, work with DOT and DEC, etc. to implement the goals and objectives of the plan,” he explained.
Mr. Manning said that resolutions of support from the communities along Route 28 were an essential first step to the plan’s enactment.

“What the supporting resolutions mean for the region is a collective affirmation of cooperation and Scenic Byway designation will further enhance that cooperation,” Mr. Manning commented.
“This, of course, is aimed at promoting the shared resources of the region for economic benefit,” he explained.

Shows cooperation
Mr. Manning noted, “The Scenic Byway designation acts as a catalyst of dialog and cooperation. It’s like a Comprehensive Plan – it has some specifics and some general outlines. You want a little bit of both and you take the recommendations and determine how to achieve those goals. Then you go after grant funding and recruit the talents of people in the area to get things done.”

He added, “The hope is that a lot of people want to get involved — planners, county officials, businesses, local boards. We want to bring people together to carry out the goals outlined in the plan. The governments need to look at it as an investment to them. Collectively, they have a good bargaining chip for funding.”

Mr. Manning pointed out that an official designation brings eligibility for federally funded grants, which are administered through the states. As an example, he cited the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway that was recently awarded $1 million to enhance three scenic overlook areas in the region.

A draft of the Route 28 Scenic Byway plan can be found at: town.olive.ny.us