County moves forward with trail plans

By JOHN RISHEL

jrishel@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — With Phase Two of the Bald Eagle Valley Trail, from Castanea to McElhattan, now open to the public, Clinton County looks to move forward with the rest of the project.

Planning director Katherine de Silva said the county is looking at options for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant handrail for Phase Six of the project, with a total estimated cost of $88,000.

Phase Six of the project will include a connector from the planned Chestnut Grove Sports Complex to the Bald Eagle Valley trailhead currently located at the Castanea Train Station, 15 Logan Ave., Castanea.

De Silva spoke to the county commissioners at their work session Monday morning, to request resolution of a grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which would cover up to half of the cost.

“The connector will go from the Castanea Train Station, run along the railroad bed and up onto the berm of Allison Street before crossing the Jarrett Avenue bridge and going down Upper Creek Road until it reaches the sports complex,” de Silva said. “The Chestnut Grove Complex will have a restroom and a huge parking lot, so for the cost this is really low hanging fruit… as the connector will be beneficial to both the complex and the trail.”

De Silva said that Julie Brennan of the Clinton County Economic Partnership and Marci Orndorf of the Wayne Township Landfill are also helping to apply for funds to complete the project, with the development of the Chestnut Grove Sports Complex to be considered a “complimentary application and companion project.”

The Bald Eagle Valley Trail, when completed, will span 11.5-miles, ultimately connecting Lock Haven, Castanea, McElhattan, Avis and points in-between to the Lycoming County border and the Jersey Shore trailhead of the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

Completed last year, Phase One is a 2.2 mile link in Wayne Township that will serve as the middle of the trail, a former farm road that is closed to traffic and runs along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Phase Two, completed last month, is a 3.4 mile link along the railroad bed from Castanea and leading to Wayne Township, running along Bald Eagle Creek.

According to de Silva, Phase Three will run through Wayne Township Community Park onto McKinney Road. Phase Four will include the conversion of a rail bridge crossing the Susquehanna River, with a targetted completion by August 2021. Phase Five will connect the trail to the Pine Creek Valley Trail in Lycoming County.

The board also announced Monday that a zoning hearing has been scheduled for April 18 at 9:30 a.m. in the second floor conference room of the county’s Piper building, 2 Piper Way. The hearing is related to a zoning ordinance amendment requested by Elam Fisher, of Sugar Valley, who hopes to build a private cemetery for the Amish community.

The county’s zoning ordinance currently requires all cemeteries to be a minimum of five acres in lot size, and the zoning board will consider reducing the requirement to two acres in lot size.

All seven municipalities covered under the zoning ordinance — Grugan, Colebrook, West Keating, East Keating, Noyes, Logan and Gallagher townships -would then have to adhere to that minimum lot size.

“Anyone in the public can come out and share evidence,” said commissioner Robert “Pete” Smeltz. “Then we will consider that when we make that decision.”

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