By DAVE GYMBURCH Staff writer

The City of Rome is seeking an approximately 1,400-foot-long and at least 20-foot-wide easement from the Rome school district behind Staley Upper Elementary School, for part of a long-proposed Mohawk River Trail project.

The district, meanwhile, wants more details about the trail including potential drainage impacts for the general Staley property, and has asked for a presentation from the city.

The request, initially reviewed by the board’s finance committee, was forwarded to the buildings and grounds committee for its meeting May 23. City Parks and Recreation Director Richard Miller, who also is a school board member, will abstain from any board votes on it.

Plans have called for the overall trail to run from the Bellamy Harbor park area to locations near the state Fish Hatchery and Delta Lake State Park north of the city, as an enhancement of trails now used informally.

Among details needed would be city plans for construction and maintenance, plus clarifying such questions as "what happens if drainage off the parking lot...goes over the trail," finance committee chair Jennifer Geiger said.

On Staley land, the trail essentially would be along banks of the Mohawk River which borders an area behind the school, said Miller, stretching about 1,400 feet from Brook Street through a wooded site and continuing near Staley’s tennis courts before reaching East Bloomfield Street; it would include some of the cross-country running trail used by school district teams, and could benefit the course, he said. While the easement would be at least 20 feet wide on Staley property, the trail itself would be 8 feet wide there and likely would have a stone-dust surface, he said. The Staley portion would be for pedestrian traffic only, while other trail sections could allow mechanized vehicles such as snowmobiles, he added.

The city, which has received $1.2 million in state grants for the overall trail, has a fall 2012 deadline for approval of plans, with construction contracts to be awarded next spring, said Miller. Also still in process are easement discussions for other parts of the trail involving National Grid plus county and private properties, he observed.