FULTON – Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels along with several members of Fulton City Council on Friday cut the ribbon of a long-awaited project and paid a memorial tribute to a man much esteemed for his service to the community.
Before a crowd of nearly 100, including State Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay, R-Pulaski, on the bank of the Oswego River in Indian Point, Michaels officially opened the new 2.5 mile Pathfinder Towpath, which runs south along the waterfront on the east bank of the Oswego River.
Also at the ceremony, the new pier was dedicated to the initiator of the project, former mayor Ronald Woodward Sr., who died earlier this year.
âIt’s about the future of Fulton,â Michaels said. âMayor Woodward had a vision and he really started that vision. He kicked that momentum forward and sometimes you don’t realize that until now when we’re in the present moment all the pieces come together and everything makes sense and now we can go on and on. So I’m really excited that 15 years ago when it was just a conversation, now we’re really moving forward.
Barclay said that while jobs are vital to a community, so is the time people spend when they’re not at work.
âWhat goes hand in hand with economic development is quality of life,â said Barclay. âI can’t say enough about what Fulton has been able to do to improve the quality of life here in this city. I think this walking trail is going to do a lot to get there.
The assembly member also thanked the representatives of the local government and private industry responsible for the new trail and the pier with special feelings for the former mayor.
âThere was someone here who had a vision,â Barclay said. âBefore Deana and when I was just starting out there was Mayor Woodward, who has been mayor many times here in Fulton, did a great job and had a vision for this quality of life, and I’m so happy that you are dedicating this pier to Mayor Woodward. I can’t think of anyone more worthy than him, and we miss him dearly every day, not only in government, but as a friend and as a person.
As of 2005, the multi-phased $ 1.1 million project was funded in part by $ 811,500 from the Environmental Protection Fund and grants from the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
Michaels thanked two people without whom she said this project could not have been done, the co-chairs of Fulton Footpaths and two members of the LWRP committee.
âWhen you do a feasibility study and write a grant, it takes a lot of effort and hundreds of hours. We wouldn’t be here and it wouldn’t have been possible without Brittney Jerred and Marie Mankiewicz. It’s a labor of love and they literally took hundreds of hours to make it happen, âMichaels said.
The feasibility study started in 2016 provided the city with a master plan for eight walking trails and the design and construction drawings for the Pathfinder towpath.
While Woodward sadly didn’t live long enough to see the completion of the Indian Point project on Friday, one can be reasonably sure he would have been proud to see its completion based on what he said in 2018. “This trail project will help the city improve our downtown, attract more people to Fulton and allow more people to enjoy our beautiful river,” he said.