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River walk trail discussed

By Staff | Aug 8, 2014

MONTGOMERY – For months now committee members for Revitalize Montgomery have been working hard to attract more visitors to the Montgomery area. They have initiated a new reparian buffer along the riverbank and Montgomery Park; they have organized Second Saturday Montgomery to highlight local businesses and retail outlets; they have planted trees in the borough and the park; and now they are currently planning on building a river walk trail.

The group generally meets once a month to go over details and progress. Committees have been formed to focus on fundraising, new welcome signs, and designating special places for visitors and tourists.

Main organizer Becky Sanguedolce said that there is a grant available from Susquehanna Greenway to help Montgomery Borough obtain the new signage throughout the town, and they are currently applying for this Rivertown Signage Grant. “We want to fix up a boat ramp, and mark trails, churches, the library and historical buildings throughout Montgomery,” she said. “We want to build more trails and include maps,” she added. In the meantime, easements and money will be needed to purchase some of the land along the river for the river trail. New curbing and sidewalks will also be needed, according to committee. “We are looking at opportunities for a loop land trail,” announced Alice Trowbridge from Susquehanna Greenway. “We have a funding source to build the trail and for technical assistance,” she explained.

There is funding available through Act 13 and matching state funds through DCNR. “We only need a 20 percent match,” Trowbridge added. Sanguedolce said it would be good to have local money and donations to start the project, and offered assistance to write the grant for the trail funds. “Signage will be included as well as sidewalks and alleys and a pet walk to develop the trail,” she said.

This could also be an educational opportunity for the schools by opening up the area to classrooms with plant and tree identification. “Birds and wildlife can connect the stories of the canal, the railroad, and old dams. “This allows people to relate to their heritage,” Trowbridge said. Legislation for the Recreational Use of the Land Act is in place which allows liability protection.

Funds are also available for open land acquisitions but it is easier to get funding for looped trails vs. dead end trails,” said Trowbridge. Sidewalks must be ADA compliant and community block grants can help with this. The Chesapeake Bay Network is also a resource for federal funds and maintaining the reparian buffer that was added last year.

It was decided to go ahead with the planning process, a feasibility study and a trail planning project for this designated River Town.

The group also discussed printing rack cards to develop tourism and to get more visitors to come to Second Saturdays. Meanwhile the event is taking off, attracting more vendors and businesses to participate along the way.

Initially, the event was held in the small Heritage Park behind the public library, but attendance was down due to lack of visibility so the next event on August 9th will be held on the Main Street. Some of the businesses will remain open and live music will be performed and the Adams Museum will also open its doors to the public. Fire truck tours and fire safety tips will also be part of the event

September’s event (Sept. 13) will include a bike and boat show and a dunk tank at the Flea Market.