Food trucks, soda stands arriving at the Albany County Rail Trail

ALBANY – For the first time, vendors will be allowed to sell food and soft drinks along the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.

The decision, announced late last week by County Executive Dan McCoy, is designed to help small businesses at a time when their sales have been crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food trucks, carts, and other temporary food stalls will be able to operate along the nine-mile stretch of trail on a rotating basis, and will be selected by lottery.

“The COVID-19 crisis and economic shutdown have had devastating effects on our small businesses and working families who continue to struggle to make ends meet,” said McCoy. “We need to use every possible asset that Albany County has to support them in their time of need.”

A request for proposals was issued Thursday, and vendors have until July 10 to respond.

A total of six vendors will be selected by lottery for two specifically designated locations on each of the three trails in Albany, Slingerlands and Voorheesville. Sellers must meet health, insurance and other criteria. Permits will be issued for one month at a time. At the end of each month, six new providers will be randomly selected to take their place.

The month-long rotations are designed to ensure that as many companies as possible have the opportunity to work on the road, McCoy said. Permits will be allowed until October 12.

“This particular initiative has the added benefit of actually improving the experience for the thousands of Rail Trail users,” he said. “This will give companies the opportunity not only to increase their sales, but also to potentially expand their customer base.”

Permits will cost $ 200 per month for food trucks and $ 125 per month for cars, tents, and temporary stands. The hours of operation of each business will be limited from 8 am to 8 pm from Sunday to Saturday.

Any provider with questions, concerns or comments or those interested in submitting a proposal may contact the Purchasing Division of the Albany County General Services Department at 518-447-7140. They can also visit the Empire State Bid system website. Proposals may be mailed to the Procurement Division at 112 State St, Room 1000, Albany, NY 12207.