Hunter seeks public input on expanding scenic byway

HUNTER - The town's ad-hoc Steering Committee will take comments on June 14 on plans to add 18 miles of road to the existing 12-mile Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway designation along three main thoroughfares.

The session is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Hunter Elementary School on state Route 23A (Main Street) in the village of Hunter.

Town Supervisor Dennis Lucas said a $24,000 grant from the National Scenic Byways program was used to pay the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development for developing maps and a corridor management plan.

"The significance of the designation has (supported) the town of Hunter's requests to enhance those byways through grant applications in a positive way," Lucas said. "We received a (state Department of Transportation) TEA-21 grant as a result of the byway. We also received a multi-modal grant that produced the sidewalks and period lighting at our historical society's campus, and also the enhanced parking, period lighting and sidewalks in and around our municipal offices."

The byway was designed by the Federal Highway Administration in 1991 for sections of state Routes 23A and 214,and Platte Clove Road. Under the proposed expansion, the additional sections would create a loop by connecting those roads.

Efforts to expand the byway as part larger efforts to promote tourism have included appointing representatives from the Hunter Chamber of Commerce, the Hunter Foundation, the Catskill Mountain Foundations and the Mountain Top Historical Society.

Supporters consider the plan an important tourism marketing tool.

"Our mountain cloves are unique, natural, cultural, recreational and historic resources," Lucas said. "The cloves and the routes that connect them have been attractions for over a century. This Scenic Byway project focuses on ways to protect and enhance the special qualities and recreational opportunities which are the underpinnings of our local and regional economy."

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