Federal grants aid heritage trail
February 17. 2013 5:45PM
‚??There‚??s nothing we enjoy better than, in Lycoming County, getting on our bike path. It‚??s at the top of the dike, and you can see all over the city and get a beautiful view of the river,‚?Ě Marino said of the 60-mile, round trip ride.
Due to a grant formally announced Monday, Marino may have similar opportunities on a return visit to the Lackawanna County portion of his congressional district.
Marino joined representatives of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority along Gilmartin Street in Archbald Monday afternoon to announce an $831,825 Federal Highway Administration Grant awarded for the organizations Lackawanna River Heritage Trail.
The grant adds a one-mile section of the Powdermill Rail-Trail from Gilmartin Street to the Lackawanna River Basin Sewer Authority.
When completed, it will create a continuous eight-mile stretch of trail in the county, according to LHVA Executive Director Natalie Gelb Solfanelli.
The grant is one of three that LHVA received for this portion of the trail.
Others include a $300,000 Appalachia Regional Commission grant, and financial support from PennDOT totals $632,832, according to documents provided by LHVA.
The funding from the Department of Transportation was one of 94 approved in 39 states from hundreds of applications.
Two other projects were approved in Pennsylvania.
Solfanelli said the freshman congressman immediately developed an interest in the local heritage-themed work being completed.
‚??He‚??s been very engaged in learning about what we do and about the trail, and he immediately joined a bipartisan caucus of congressmen who have parts of heritage areas in their district,‚?Ě she said of Marino.
Completed portions of the trail are used daily by residents of the Mid Valley, Solfanelli said.
But the path does more than add a scenic route as an amenity to the Casey Byway.
‚??Progressive communities have progressive park systems. It‚??s a key component in our long-term economic development,‚?Ě Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O‚??Brien (D) said.
‚??We hope to have a commercial district along the Lackawanna River. That‚??s what this trail provides.
‚??This is not merely a bike path. It‚??s a pathway to our future.‚?Ě
And it‚??s one the congressman hopes to return to.
‚??I‚??m a biker. My kids and I, we‚??re biking all the time‚?ĽWhen we travel, we want to go somewhere where we can walk among nature, get on our bicycles and ride in a safe community with nice restaurants and good people.
‚??That‚??s what we have here in Archbald,‚?Ě he said.
‚??This is a quintessential example of what our tax dollars are doing. I look forward to enjoying the trail myself.‚?Ě