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Montgomery continues to ‘green-up’

By Staff | Mar 3, 2016

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Trish Carothers, Executive Director of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership is showing Becky Sanguedolce from Revitalize Montgomery a map of a proposed connecting trail to the river for the possibility of creating a “Corridor Plan” for Montgomery.

MONTGOMERY – A small group of people can do a great amount of things. Montgomery is on the map as a designated River Town and the community keeps looking better due to the coordinating efforts of Revitalize Montgomery and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership.

During Februrary the team of citizens representing Revitalize Montgomery heard about some funding opportunities while meeting with executive director Trish Carothers from Susquehanna Greenway and Alice Trowbridge who has been working with the group on technical assistance.

While meeting at the Montgomery Borough office, some ideas were discussed for making priorities in the Montgomery community that would be eligible for the available grant funding. Within the working partnership of the two organizations, tree plantings have been successful, sidewalks have been improved and a reparian buffer was constructed as well as adding some walking trails.

Extending the trail along the river with a walkable pathway and improving the safety of a borough playground came to be the leading consensus among everyone.

Revitalize Montgomery was established by the Montgomery Borough to “advocate and implement special projects that improve community design, enhance the environment and foster economic development.” Any river enthusiast, resident or business that has in interest in improving the town’s culture and appearance may join.

JADE HEASLEY/The Luminary Revitalize Montgomery is priotitizing plans to improve the quality and safety of this playground on Houston Street in Montgomery.

“Many ideas were generated for this,” Trowbridge explained as she passed around a handout “Let’s Green-up Montgomery.” She is overseeing the process of the technical assistance grants available to Revitalize Montgomery. One of them is the Peer to Peer grant which involves one agreed-upon project for implementation through a public engagement process.

“The Houston Street playground is assessed for this,” Trowbridge reported among a chart of different other projects for rehabilitation. “This is a pocket park that has been tormented by flooding and not being maintained properly,” said a Revitalize Montgomery member who chose not to be identified.

Tina Tickle suggested mulching the park and to eliminate the weeds and patroling it more.” These needs led to a discussion to do an assessment of the playground and work out a possible situation. Trowbridge said there is a small DCNR grant for $20,000 that could be available for a nature play park. “This funding is available for playgrounds to make them ADA compliant.”

While making connections with available resources, the focus will also be looking into the possibility of a connector trail as ideas and thoughts were discussed on the scope and professional services required for this project.

Becky Sanguedolce, one of the leading members of Revitalize Montgomery said more connections are needed between the downtown community and the river and suggested to develop a strategy to move forward starting with the playground.

Meanwhile Carothers reported that plans for the “Corridor Plan” will require more parcel maps and a feasibility study with county engineers. Ultimately this could lead to be “part of 500 miles of connected trails of the Susquehanna Valley by connecting to old rail corridors. We are now trying to identify some of these trails along the river from Union County to here.”

A trail gap analysis done by DCNR reveals Montgomery is already part of an existing rail bed between Union County and Lycoming County. “To connect Montgomery to a river walk? I would like to see this happen,” said Carothers. On a proposed map Carothers pointed to a trail between Allenwood and Montgomery. “Part will be in Union County,” she added while directing members to the major trail gaps between the two counties.

“There is the possibility of adding a trail head at the old sewer plant,” said Sanguedolce. “The county wants us to use grants, matching grants and private interest over tax dollars.”

Trowbridge explained that further funding can come from private donations to help meet the matches for the grants. “We are working with a 100 year flood plain, and recreation is a good use of flood plains,” Trowbridge stated and also indicated the possibility of adding paved trails for bicycle routes.

She referenced some Brownfield site designs for possiblities that they had some limitations and maybe to possibly add this “higher on the list.”

Community gardens was also another suggestion and LuAnn Potter from Muncy suggested a committee to start this. One had been started last summer with the Summer Alive program.

Having a nice place dedicated to seniors came from the brainstorming ideas plus bringing in more tourism to help “discover Montgomery” with connecting signage and feature attractions.

“Montgomery is a supporting municipality,” concluded Carothers who suggested to revisit these priority projects during the five year planning strategy.

“A small group of people here has done quite a lot,” she added.