26 Sep 23 298 0 0

Meeting crowd supports bridge park

Cool Story - Meeting crowd supports bridge park

The executive director of the Fay-Penn Industrial Development Council, Laura Kurtz Kuhns, stated that Connellsville serves as the center of the bike-trail universe.

Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln stated at a public hearing on Monday that a project to increase tourism around a famous railroad bridge might turn the borough into "the Breezewood of the trail system."

Breezewood, which is situated at the intersection of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 70, and the Lincoln Highway, gained notoriety as "the town of motels" and "the traveler's haven" decades ago.

Residents crowded into the Connellsville Senior Center for the public meeting to learn more about the Iron Horse Bridge Park project.

The meeting was overseen by Fayette County Commissioner Scott Dunn.

Attendees included staff members from PennDOT and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as well as elected officials from the state and federal levels.

It also drew people who wanted to start businesses related to trails, like Kevin Leonard, who wants to build a micro-resort on the West Side, Greg Botta from the Comfort Inn Hotel chain, who wants to build an event space, winery, and restaurant next to the hotel, and Shawn Pilla, who owns a sizable portion of the West Side along with Terrance "Tuffy" Shallenberger.

In addition to Bob Topper Jr., Carol Tiberio, and Ethan Keedy from the city council, commissioners Dave Lohr and Vincent Vicites, district attorney Richard Bower, recorder of deeds Jon Marietta, and commissioner Dave Lohr all attended.

The bridge

Who Owns a Railroad Bridge? was the idea behind the Iron Horse Bridge Park, according to Dunn, who is in charge of the project.

Irwin, a retired state trooper, is on the boards of the Regional Trail Corp. and the Yough River Trail Council.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad has a long-term lease on the bridge, as well as deeded land north of the bridge that goes along an abandoned rail line to Narrows Road in the township, which the county discovered about through work with City Clerk Vern Ohler.

Wheeling & Lake Erie is currently looking into its options for transferring the lease, according to Dunn.

Dunn said on Monday, "We wanted to see how we could use Martin's railroad bridge not only as a crossing but also as a tourism destination." And Fay-Penn has assisted in the evolution of that plan.

More public input-gathering meetings will be planned if the planning grant is awarded.

Remenschneider claimed that in his career, he has never witnessed such a sizable public turnout at an open house for a project.

The project, according to Lincoln, is quite significant and will have a significant influence on Fayette County as well as Connellsville and Connellsville Township.

We will all gain if this award is approved, he declared.

He claimed that visitors will be allowed to climb up the bridge and take pictures from there after the project is finished. Currently, the bridge is regularly seen in the background of wedding and graduation photos.

Lincoln exclaimed, "I'm just so happy that this is happening.

He mentioned Ohler's efforts to make the trestle a popular tourist destination.

"All I want to do is thank Vern. He puts a lot of effort into serving the city," added Lincoln, emphasizing the significance of the trail. The things we have now in the city wouldn't exist if the trail didn't exist.

He claimed that visitors to the path enjoy shopping and exploring Connellsville.

The opportunity is wonderful, according to Miner.

I'm eagerly anticipating it, he remarked. "It will take place."

A link from the Coal & Coke Trail to the GAP, according to Miner, will allow bed-and-breakfast establishments and other businesses to flourish even if the township does not have much of a tourism industry.

According to Dunn, Kurtz Kuhns has ties in the federal government and experience in historical preservation, which he brings to the project.

She claimed that Fay-Penn is well recognized for its business parks and industrial growth.

In addition to working on housing, community development, and tourism, Kurtz Kuhns stated that one of the organization's nonprofit goals is to improve quality of life.

A concern was raised regarding "loose furniture" that might be removed or thrown into the river.

It is unlikely that there will be loose furniture on the bridge, according to Remenschneider, who added that it might be made to move but not be removed.

Lincoln claimed that the city hardly ever gets complaints about the Connellsville trail.

He remarked, "They feel accepted here and they feel protected." We put a lot of effort into it in Connellsville every day. When guests arrive, they feel free to leave.

A woman inquired as to when a job would be finished.

Depending on "a good degree of cooperation between the city, township, trails groups, and everyone who has a stake in how this happens," according to Remenschneider, the planning can be completed in six to nine months.

The objective will be to apply for a building grant the following year, he said.

According to Remenschneider, which noted that bridge stabilization would be necessary, a contractor with the capacity to provide the bridge park construction may take two to two and a half years to accomplish.

The approval of the planned work by PennDOT may have an impact on other parts of the total project.

Irwin claimed that the Yough River Path Council, including the Adirondack shelters alongside the trail, has had relatively little trouble with drug use.

Remenschneider said that the project would profit from the services of minority-owned businesses.

Concerning project expense overruns, a man inquired.

According to Remenschneider, the project would be put up for public bid, and contractors would be held to their bids.

The above article is selected by CoolDeeds.org. The information and the assets belong to their respective owners (original link).


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