County seeks grant for Rail Trail

LOCK HAVEN — The county is looking to secure a multi-modal transportation grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for the Bald Eagle Valley Trail development, according to Clinton County Planning Director Katherine de Silva.

These funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development, according to the DCED website.

While the grant budget is not final, deSilva told the county commissioners Monday that the grant is expected to be a value of approximately $1,175,000 and if approved, will be put toward the development of Phase Four and Phase Five of the rail trail.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $2,776,000, according to de Silva.

The fourth phase includes going across the Susquehanna River on a bridge bought by the county from the Solid Waste Authority in January for $1, deSilva said.

Phase five would then come off the bridge, extend 3.4 miles of flat surface along the river and into Lycoming County connecting to the Pine Creek Valley Trail, she said.

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 in March, is a 3.4 mile link along the railroad bed from Castanea and leading to Wayne Township, running along Bald Eagle Creek.

Phase Three will run through Wayne Township Community Park onto McKinney Road, and Phase Four will include the conversion of a rail bridge crossing the Susquehanna River, with a targetted completion by August 2021, deSilva said.

Grant funds for the trail are also expected to come from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), with the county responsible for just “engineering and inspection costs,” she added. “Juggling these grants can be complex but we can handle it.”

De Silva said that she has been working with Jason Shura, engineer of Stiffler McGraw, on “getting to a budget and getting to numbers we want to see.”

In other business, the commissioners said a few agreements and contracts for the county’s Children and Youth Department will be on the agenda for the commissioner’s voting session on Thursday morning, along with an approval of Revolving Loan Fund loans.

A ground-breaking for the new Susquehannock Heights senior housing complex was announced for July 30 at 10 a.m., and a mosquito control spraying will take place in Dunnstable and Woodward Townships on Wednesday, July 24.