Henrietta O’Grady was honored at a recent Town of Halfmoon Board meeting for twenty years of service as we implemented and nurtured our National Scenic Byway. Henny was one of the key people who represented the Town of Halfmoon through the early advocacy committee and became executive secretary once the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition was incorporated among the ten municipalities through which the Byway passes. Although still quite active in the Friends of the Mohawk Towpath Byway she has had to step back from everyday involvement with the Byway for personal reasons.
In 1998 Henny and I attended a public information session in Vischer Ferry facilitated by a representative from the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission. The idea of a scenic byway from Waterford and Cohoes to Schenectady was proposed. From those humble beginnings an advocacy committee of several dozen stakeholders and interested people worked with a facilitator from the MVHCC to flesh out the dream and gain designation as a N Y State Byway in 2003 and eventually as one of America’s Byways® in 2005.
The real success was the ability of having eight municipalities, now grown to ten municipalities, each with their own priorities and unique problems work together to build the foundation for a regional, national, and international tourist destination. We have many partners to thank in this effort, but none as important as our local partnership of municipalities within the Byway corridor.
We all think Henrietta O’Grady for her vision, implementation efforts, and pride of achievement that has underlined the success of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway.