River trail becomes part of long range planning efforts
MONTGOMERY – Preparing for the future and enhancing the community as a designated River Town has been the main focus of Revitalize Montgomery, a team of business owners and residents who take pride in their town and are working together to make the river a vital part of community life.
Working with the Susquehanna Greenway for technical assistance, the organization has taken great strides in improving their natural surroundings. “You should take pride in what you have already accomplished,” said Alice Trowbridge, coordinator with Susquehanna Greenway Partnership at last week’s monthly meeting, and is working on obtaining some grant money to assist in some long range planning goals for Montgomery.
Some areas of interest for making improvements include the former sewer plant and the carnival grounds.
A future project in the works is a river walk and is now part of a feasibility study with the county using part of the rail bed that is under their ownership. Trowbridge said this is a long term study and will be part of the ‘Great Steams Commons’ which will eventually connect the rail bed from Union County to Lycoming County.
“For now, we can focus on Montgomery to Allenwood,” she proclaimed. “We can redevelop the sewage treatment plant for a trail head from a derelict site into something useful. Within the next five years, we should start to hear more about it.”
Later on this project can be tacked on to an even bigger project as Trowbridge explained the overall process of gaining grant money and making headway with the project. Meanwhile, a shorter trail can be developed by the boat launch river access and the community ball park which has some historical significance. The area already has a river viewing area; it just needs a connecting trail.
A PEER TO PEER technical assistance grant through DCNR can be used to fund it according to Trowbridge. A one thousand dollar match from the community could get Montgomery an additional ten thousand dollars when seeking grant money that will include “the scope of the work involved.”
Members of Revitalize Montgomery agreed to introduce the first phase of the walking trail which will be broken down into four parts.
Other communities doing similar projects by connecting key points of interest include Jersey Shore, Athens, Sayre and Renovo.
Meanwhile Trowbridge suggested to come up with some more ideas and get more feedback for a conceptual plan before submitting the PEER-to- PEER grant.
Because of its population size of approximately 1600, Montgomery could also be eligible for a small community development grant. “Your community seems a lot more connected with everything you are doing,” Trowbridge added. She also remarked on the many accomplishments that have been done already such as the reparian buffer to prevent erosion, the summer enrichment program for the youth, and the Montgomery Second Saturday events. These all connect the downtown to the river. “We need to understand what ‘next steps’ are required to make it happen,” said Trowbridge at the conclusion of the meeting. “It helps to identify a project that the people can actually participate in.”