Grant Genzlinger announced that there will be a delay in the Gorge Trail project, but is optimistic that it is still moving forward.

PALMYRA TWP. (Pike) - Grant Genzlinger announced that there will be a delay in the Gorge Trail project, but is optimistic that it is still moving forward.

The project involves establishing a hiking trail linking Brookfield Renewable’s Wallenpaupack Creek Trail alongside the flow-line ahead of the dam, to Hawley Borough by way of Cromwelltown on the other side of bridge near the foot of the Paupack Falls. The path takes part of an old road through the woods on the ridge on the Palmyra Township, Pike County side, on the other side of the ravine behind the Hawley Silk Mill.

Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP) is behind this multi-phase project.

Genzlinger, who chairs the DHP Trail Committee, informed the Palmyra-Pike supervisors, May 16th, that a signed option agreement is still pending from Brookfield Renewable, the power company that now owns the dam, lake and hydroelectric facility. The proposed trail passes through Brookfield property. A meeting date with Brookfield has not been announced.

Not having the agreement for the trail easement by this time, he explained, put uncertainty on being able to apply for a state grant by the cutoff in June.  The committee is seeking around $130,000 from the PA Department of Conservation & Economic Devlopment (DCED), which requires a roughly 20% match.

Brookfield, he said, needs more time to work on issues related to the agreement.

Julie Pelletier, spokesperson for Brookfield, told The News Eagle that they remain “committed to moving forward” with the project but is still having discussion with the Trail Committee.  One of the areas involves determining the exact route of the proposed trail.

Brookfield Renewable has entered partnerships at other locations where there are public trails on company land.

Genzlinger stated that he is asking the design consultant, Kiley Associates, to break the Gorge Trail project into two components. In lieu of DCED funding at this stage, other fundraising would be done first.

The first phase, he said, once the option agreement is in place, would be to open the trail to the public.

The second phase, which involves the DCED grant they hope to receive, would include building a handicapped-accessible off-shoot trail and overlook, and handicapped-accessible parking at the trail head at Cromwell Avenue, a short way after the Cromwelltown Bridge.

The handicapped-accessible trail would give access to a proposed overlook near the base of the falls, opposite the Ledges Hotel property.

Palmyra Township-Pike is expected to be holder of the easement. The Township has already agreed to maintain the trail section, although DHP will operate it. In 2010 the Township established the popular Wallenpaupack Lake Trail.

Supervisor Eric Ehrhardt asked if they could move forward without the handicapped accessible portion in place, to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Solicitor Anthony Waldron said that if the project used tax dollars it would need to meet ADA, but this is not the case. Waldron advised, however, making sure that it wouldn’t affect the grant requirements.

The second phase, funded through the DCED grant, would cost more, Genzlinger noted.

Parking, initially, would still be available off of Cromwell Avenue and near the corner of Welwood and Church (where there is a borough-owned lot).

Also discussed 

• A lot subdivision for First Impressions Landscaping was approved, subject to Greene Township approval. The parcel overlaps the township line.

• Approval was given for a traffic signal maintenance agreement with a contractor, Kuharchik Construction Inc., for the traffic signal system in place at the Route 6/507 and Route 6/402 intersections, for 2018. The agreement spells out how much the Township pays the contractor to repair or replace the equipment related with the signal, and for preventative maintenance. The rates for repair or replacement are: Signal technicians, test equipment and tools $110/hour; bucket truck $45/hour; materials, cost plus 25%. Preventative maintenance: Signal technician, vehicle, test equipment and tools, $650/intersection; materials cost plus 25%.

The agreement for repairs and replacement does not cover vehicular accidents and weather-related damage.

• After discussion, the fee for a residential deck was lowered from $200 to $100. Administrator Jo-Ann Rose had compared what Palmyra charges, with Blooming Grove Township, which is comparable. While Palmyra’s deck fee was high, other fees were lower than normal. A lot of people add decks, compared to conditional use or zoning permit requests. The supervisors also agreed to charge $750 for a conditional use permit (it was $300) and $750 for a zoning variance hearing (it had been $600), with cost split for the stenographer.

• A revised agreement was approved with Northeast Inspection Consultants (NEIC), Child, PA, to conduct building inspections. The Township is transitioning from using Building Inspection Underwriters of PA Inc. (BIU), Scranton. Rose is concerned for residents who have been accustomed to working with BIU. Supervisor Ehrhradt advised giving Rose the discretion of when a resident now using BIU, switches over.

• Jeff DeYoung, Zoning Officer, reported that George Irish wants to have an arcade above his old sandwich shop. Irish was advised that a conditional use permit will be needed.

• Approval was given to hire Jim Miller Plumbing Heating Co. to install six new restroom fixtures at the Public Beach. An estimate of $2,885 was accepted.

• Bids will be opened June 6th for the tar and chip road project.

• Adjustments to the parking lot paving plan were recommended by Maintenance Foreman Brian Mathews. The revisions include increasing available parking spots from 42 to 52, and putting in planters alongside the front of the municipal building. The project should take 10 days. dates of October 18-31 were suggested, to avoid township meeting times when the public would want to use the lot. Recycling can also be moved for that period.

• Mathews was asked to attend an upcoming Pike County Road Task Force meeting, in Chairman Tom Simon’s stead. Mathews was asked to find out more about PennDOT’s plan to replace the I-84 bridge over Shiny Mountain Road, and to replace the small bridge on Route 390 at the outlet to Fairview Lake.

Palmyra Township supervisors meet on the first and third Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., at the offices off Gumbletown Road.