By Peter Becker
Managing Editor
Hawley Borough Council agreed to be a co-applicant for a state grant to help develop a recreational trail extending eight miles from Lake Wallenpaupack to the D&H Canal Lock 31 House west of town.
Mary Sanders, Council vice-president, stressed that the Borough is far over-budget and could not provide any financial assistance, but could help with personnel. The Council agreed to allow use of the Borough's grant consultant, James Martin. There were no dissenting votes. Councilman Joseph Faubel was absent.
Residents from Palmyra Township- Wayne County were present, concerned that they be kept abreast of the plans, since the proposed trail would pass in front of their properties on Route 6.
Karen Frisbie, who lives next to Compton's Garage, stood in the audience and mentioned that they had not been approached by anyone about the project. She wanted to know what the plans were to extend the trail between Settler's Inn in Hawley, to the Wayne County Historical Society D&H Canal project just up the road.
Sue Currier, representing the Delaware Highlands Conservancy as well as Downtown Hawley Partnership, presented the project before Hawley Council. She told Frisbie that the section between Settler's Inn and the canal house is a later phase, and particular details have not been worked out. The thought is to approach PennDOT with a request to use the state right-of-way along Route 6, where walkers would be directed.
While she said the section with Compton's Garage and other properties is relatively short, Currier agreed with Frisbie that it is also congested.
"We need a heads-up on that stretch," Frisbie said.
On a similar note, Sanders asked Currier to involve Borough residents along the way where the hiking path may go near them. Currier assured, "We'd have involvement of all the people to flesh out the details."
The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) should also be keep notified, Sanders advised, since the trail route includes another part of the flood levy.
Palmyra Township-Pike County is the lead applicant for the grant, Currier said. The Township has provided use of their engineering firm, Kiley & Associates.
Currier said that the Borough was not being expected to provide any financial match for the grant.
The project involves extending the existing Wallenpaupack Creek trail maintained by PPL, which already connects with the popular Wallenpaupack Lake Trail beginning with the Tafton Dike.
Currier stated that "PPL seems willing" to allow continuation of the trail on their lands, in the wooded tract between the flow line and the Borough. The trail would extend through the woods on the Pike County side behind the Hawley Silk Mill and come out on Cromwell Avenue, just past the bridge.
From there, hikers would use Borough sidewalks on Falls Avenue and Paupack Street, to reach the flood levy off Welwood Avenue behind the apartment building. The route then continues on the existing Riverside Park trail on the levy off Church Street, taking them out to Bingham Park, and then across Route 6 to go around Settler's Inn.
Sanders asked assurance that the Downtown Hawley Partnership was not backing down on another project they hope to have funded through DCNR, handicapped -accessible restrooms in Bingham Park. Elaine Herzog, who is on Council as well as the Partnership, said they were not.
The grant is being sought from the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR). Herzog stated that multi-municipal projects are highly favored by the state. There has already been a big investment in the trail project. Herzog said it should stand a good chance to be funded.
She noted that the trail is part of a wider "hub and spoke" plan supported by the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau and Promised Land State Park. The idea is to picture Hawley as the hub of business and services, with spokes extending out, where the public- including tourists- can take advantage of recreational opportunities. The hope to expand heritage and recreational tourism, as well as strengthen the business community.
[More Council business will be reported in the next edition.- Editor]