Hancock to use grant downtown

July 31, 1997


Staff Writer

A $170,000 federal grant awarded to Hancock will be used to revitalize the town's downtown district, officials say.

Town Manager Lou Close said part of the money from the Appalachian Regional Commission will be used for lighting and landscaping around the new biking/hiking trail and $26,000 will be used to upgrade the Taney Street parking lot.

"The money will be used for the construction of the park, and if there is any left, for park benches and trash cans," Close said.

Town Councilman Greg Yost said lighting will be installed so people can use the rail trail in the evenings.

"It's going to supply security and make it a safer, better place. It will draw in more people if it's safe to use it longer," he said.


The grant is related to the Rail-to-Trail program created in 1992. Close said the paving of the Hancock end of the 12-mile trail that leads to Big Pool has been completed.

He said the next step will be the addition of guard rails, trees and landscaping. He said he doesn't know when the trail will be completed, but the Department of Natural Resources is scheduling a grand opening for the spring.

"I hope it brings thousands of people a month. It's a economic development `Field of Dreams.' Build the trail and hope they'll come," Close said. "Surveys from other trails show that they are well-used and people will take advantage of both the paved trail and the C&O dirt towpath."

Close said the park complex is being designed now and will be on the site where two buildings burned down in the New Year's Day fire of 1992.

The buildings were bought with a Community Development Block Grant and are being designed by Streetscape Inc. of Abingdon, Md.

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