DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The Old Croton Aqueduct is just as well known for its storied history providing water to New York City as it is a scenic walking trail in Westchester. The aqueduct runs through plenty of local towns in Westchester, but some areas are a little harder to access than others.
The Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, a group dedicated to promoting and preserving the trail and the aqueduct, took the task of opening the trail up to more people.
Mavis Cain, the president of the group, said elderly and handicapped people had a difficult time accessing the trail at the Cedar St. entrance in Dobbs Ferry due to the way it was set up. Cain described it as a rocky and steep slope, which posed a problem for many.
Cain said the group applied for a recreation trails grant for $157,000 to help fund a project to reconstruct the trail’s entrance. The group was required to match and raise its own share of the money and was able to pull in over $31,000 with the help of local donations and the Dobbs Ferry Board of Trustees.
The group sent out letters to the community asking for any kind of donation. Cain said some donated $100 and some donated thousands to the project.
“We just went to people and that’s what makes it so unusual,” Cain said. “It’s a people project.”
The work on the trail entrance began about a year ago as the goal was to make the aqueduct accessible to people of all ages and ability.
“The big thing is the handicap ramp, the trail is now handicap accessible,” Cain said. “It was the only part of the aqueduct that was not accessible unless you were able.”
Aside from being easier to use, the new stairway and handicap ramp make the area less dangerous while providing extra lighting.
“One of my reasons in appealing to people is it’s much more open and safer,” Cain said.
Now with the staircase in place, the trail links up directly with the rest of the path providing a more direct route.
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