Y’ville revs bike/hike trail plans

The idea of a bike-hike trail for Youngsville was hatched a couple years ago, but with state funding and a loan approved, and pledges of in-kind help in hand, the project may be about to move forward.

The Rev. Rick Hamrick of the Youngsville Free Methodist Church addressed a small crowd at the Youngsville Borough Building Thursday evening about the bike trail.

Hamrick said, “So here’s what we’ve got going. The Bike Trail loan was approved, but they (the state) sent us another packet to fill out before they start disbursing money. There’s nothing hard about it, but its cumbersome. I have a file that I have to dig through (for the information) and then we can get started.”

He described the original route as being three miles from Island park across the church and school properties, across the present site of Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems and loop around the ballfields. The proposal had been submitted three times before it was approved, and Beacon Light had purchased a part of the property, effectively blocking that portion of the trail.

The new route for the trail goes from Island Park to the overpass on Route 6 and a grove of trees that has been donated to the trail by the Rouse Estate to make a picnic area. He said, “They also donated a right-of-way from the grove to the apartment housing area, and we can use the area just at the end of the restricted access area for parking.”

“The idea is, finish this part of the project, and then get permission to go over the overpass, and come down the old railroad grade and make a loop around town,” he continued.

“Right now, what we need a list of who is willing to work, and what there willing to work on. So really, that’s where were at right now. We have $140,000 that’s approved, a loan for $130,000 and some other money that is spoken for goods and services in kind.”

“What we need most is a new group of people to work together. Of the original group that worked on this project, I’m the only one left. We need a new group of people who will sit down as a planning committee, and divide these tasks up,” he said, listing things like phone calls and handling advertising. Youngsville Borough Manager Lisa Hagberg said, “If you can help me wade through the paperwork, I can put bids out by next week,” and a number of people volunteered to become the committee.

He explained he would sit down with a group and get the project back on track, meeting on a bi-weekly basis.

Hamrick said, “It isn’t going to take us a long time, maybe two months. There’s no reason in the world it shouldn’t be done by late September. Most of the trail is already blazed through the woods.”

Marge Himber asked, “Are there physical plans in place where we know where gravel is going to go?” Hamrick said there are.

He said there are wetlands behind the Free Methodist Church that can’t be filled in, so a bridge must be built. “We already have that permitted; it’s already approved, so we’ll have to build that. We have the blueprint for the Allegheny National Forest’s trail bridge. Whatever they use, that’s what we’ll be using. When we make our first draw, we’ll buy whatever we need for that. My hope is that we can put the bridge in with volunteer labor.”

He admitted that money for picnic tables was not included the grant, but said it would make a great Eagle Scout project with donated materials.

He also said that this year’s junior class could be approached about volunteering to meet their senior project requirement.

“The bottom line is this: get a committee set up. They’re ready to start giving us money,” Hamrick said.