Town board supports long-awaited Sugar Loaf walkway

Chester. Follow the red brick road to the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center: Chester is negotiating with the county with a fall completion date in mind.

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  • Gateway sidewalks proposed for Sugar Loaf (Image provided by Nick Zungoli)

  • Stamped blacktop proposed for Sugar Loaf (Image provided by Nick Zungoli)

  • Gateway sidewalks proposed for Sugar Loaf (Image provided by Nick Zungoli)

  • Map of the proposed walkway

  • Nick Zungoli at the April 10 Chester town board meeting (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

By Frances Ruth Harris

Never say never. Sugar Loaf's long longed-for sidewalk might just materialize as soon as this fall.

The Sugar Loaf Community Foundation is submitting grant applications to build a new, safe walkway.

The proposed brick-red painted walkway will run in a continuous line from the Margolis Park Gateway to White Oak Drive, outlining an obvious route through Sugar Loaf's business district from the post office to the Sugar Loaf Fine Arts Center, which was recently purchased by the town.

Photographer Nick Zungoli, owner of Exposures Gallery in the hamlet, said he's delighted that the Chester Town Board has given its full support for the new walkway, which has been planned since 2004. At that time, urban planning graduate students from SUNY Albany came up with a plan that could not be implemented because of regulations imposed on Kings Highway (County Highway 31), the hamlet's main thoroughfare. Its shoulders are under the control of the county, giving the town no option to increase safety.

The town is now negotiating with Orange County to come up with a way forward.

The lack of sidewalks in Sugar Loaf makes strolling the charming arts and crafts hamlet a hazard, especially for people pushing strollers or those with disabilities, who are forced into the busy street.

The Orange County Highway Department is set to repave and install traffic-calming features that were part of the SUNY Albany plan. After the walkway is built, the Sugar Loaf Community Foundation and members of the community will work with the Town of Chester Highway Department to maintain it.

"Part of the grant will be to host a community walk event to celebrate the installation tentatively scheduled for the fall of 2019," Zungoli.

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