When you think of Oneida you probably think of silverware, but this city of 11,000 residents in Madison County is working hard to shake off the images of their industrial past in favor of outdoor recreation. Over the past several years, the City of Oneida and the Oneida Improvement Committee (OIC) have been planning an 11.3-mile community trail system using abandoned railroad corridors left from when the city served as a major rail hub.
Recently the City and OIC helped secure two large grants to construct four miles of trail and a centrally located pedestrian plaza for a farmers’ market and summertime concerts. The OIC used a $1,500 Growing the Grassroots grant from Parks & Trails New York to create a website which not only serves to promote the rail trail system (3.1 miles of which is already open) and OIC membership and activities, but will also house all of the documentation for the public input portion of the trail design process.
“Since launching the website, donations went from $0 to $4,000 and volunteers have increased nearly 50%,” said Patti Meakin, Treasurer of the Oneida Improvement Committee. “Before the website launch we had 25 volunteers signed up through word of mouth or we would capture volunteer information whenever we did an Oneida Rail Trail presentation. Now we have 49 volunteers – all of whom have been obtained through our website.”
“We appreciate the opportunity we have been given with the PTNY Growing the Grassroots grant,” added Meakin. “The OIC’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Oneida. This website not only incorporates our mission, it goes one step further by enhancing the quality of life for all who use the Oneida Rail Trail,”