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Fort la Presentation Association seeks cooperation with city on Abbe’s Trail project

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OGDENSBURG — As the Fort la Presentation Association moves forward with the planned installation of the Abbe’s Trail over the next two years, members are keeping the city of Ogdensburg up to date with their progress and hoping for cooperation going forward.

The interpretive history trail will give visitors a glance into Ogdensburg’s past with signs highlighting important aspects of the city’s heritage, and the association will need to get approval by the city’s planning board.

The association is working closely with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation on the project after the office awarded the association a $352,650 grant in 2013 for the construction of the trail.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $470,200, with the rest of the funding coming from other grants and the association’s coffers.

Fort Association President Barbara J. O’Keefe said the organization hopes to have the project completed in the fall of 2015.

During the next few months, Mrs. O’Keefe said, her organization will focus on getting the necessary paperwork ready for the project and pushing the plan through the city Planning Department.

Fort Association Vice President Mark T. Valley, speaking at Monday’s City Council meeting, said he hopes the city will help the association get the approval it needs for the project.

“I thought that maybe the fort and the city could be friends with benefits. We don’t have to be in love, but when we get together things could happen,” Mr. Valley said.

The completed project will feature a 1-mile loop on Lighthouse Point that will connect with the Maple City Trail featuring historical signs about the city’s history as well as picnic facilities, benches, bike racks and a parking lot.

Use of the trail will be free and open to the public, and is the first part of a larger plan to build a replica of the 1749 fort built on the point by French Sulpician priest Abbe Francois Picquet.

The association also plans to build an interpretive center and Native American village on the point to act as a historical tourist attraction.

Mayor William D. Nelson said the trail project is a good “first step.”

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