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Grant to help pay for historical trail

September 23, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Motorists following the historical George Washington Trail through Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties can thank Uncle Sam for the guided tour.

A $60,000 federal grant funded under the new federal transportation bill - known as TEA-21 - will help cover the cost of 112 scenic highway signs, two kiosks and an interpretative center in the Caperton Station in Martinsburg, according to West Virginia Department of Transportation officials.

The George Washington Trail is one of 24 transportation-related projects throughout West Virginia to receive a grant under the federally funded Transportation Enhancement program, said Rich Hartman, who manages the program at the West Virginia Department of Transportation in Charleston, W.Va.

The program had nearly $4.5 million available for grants this year compared with $3 million funded annually under the previous federal transportation bill, he said.

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The sponsor of the trail project, the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council, will have to come up with the remaining 20 percent of the $75,000 cost, said Karen Ebert Allen, who manages the federally funded Byways and Backways program.

Ebert said the project received a $88,960 grant from her program for development of a management plan for the 111-mile-long stretch of highway that will make up the looping trail.

The Eastern Panhandle is prime for a designated byway highlighting Colonial history, since it has more from that period of history to showcase than other parts of the state, she said.

Ebert said her program - which received $23.5 million to spend nationally this year - seeks to link communities for tourism development and preservation.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation is seeking to educate communities about the federal Transportation Enhancement, Recreational Trails, and Byways and Backways programs through a series of workshops around the state, Ebert said.

One of the workshops is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 31, at Reynolds Hall on the Shepherd College campus in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Call 1-304-558-3165 for information.

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