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M'burgh Village Supports Scenic Byway Effort, Names Two Reps

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/19/24 | 4/19/24

By David Avitabile

MIDDLEBURGH - A new scenic byway gained more momentum last week as the Middleburgh Village board threw its support behind the project.

After a presentation by former village Trustee Bill Morton, board members appointed a Byway Committee of Mr. Morton and Trustee Kevin Young for the village's section of the project. The board also passed a motion fully endorsing Mr. Morton's efforts.

Mr. Morton of Middleburgh has been working diligently for several years on establishing a Scenic Byway in Schoharie County.

Mr. Morton has made presentations to several town board, including Esperance, Gilboa, Middleburgh, and Fulton, and spoke to members of the Middleburgh village board last Monday.

His dream is to have Route 30 from Esperance south through Schoharie, Middleburgh, Blenheim, and Gilboa to the Delaware County line. 

There are 26 scenic byways in the state, according to Mr. Morton, including sections of Routes 20 and 23A, which travel east to west. Scenic byways already exist nearby areas such as Ulster, Delaware, and Green counties. The Route 30 scenic byway would extend south form Route 30S in Fultonville in the Mohawk Valley, through Schoharie County.

Mr. Morton  that there was some initial skepticism among local leaders concerning scenic byways in their area but after they were established, most were very happy with the results. The local leaders had been worried about loss of control, but found that there were increase in property values and other positives, with no downsides, Mr. Morton said.

A scenic byway designation would have no restrictions for property owners or municipalities, Mr. Morton added. Only three signs, at intersections, would be needed.

The next step, Mr. Morton said, is a corridor management plan. The plan would require sections on the region including the scenery, recreation, history, culture, archeology, geology, and natural resources, which would include the Schoharie County Eagle Trail.

Before the state Department of Transportation can approve the byway and begin to administrate it, the local governments have to "sign off" on the byway, Mr. Morton said.

To be approved, the byway needs to be approved by the DOT, state legislature, and then the governor, according to Mr. Morton.

If approved, Mr. Morton said an interactive map to include businesses, restaurants, and gas stations.

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