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Trail aims to create 'walkable community'

December 16, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Antrim Township's goal of creating a "walkable community" moved up a step when the federal government approved a $378,000 grant to be spent on a 3,800-foot trail to the township's recreational park off Grant Shook Road.

The new trail will provide an 8-foot-wide pathway for pedestrians and bikers to the Antrim Township Community Park now under construction. It will parallel parts of Shanks Church and Grant Shook roads, Township Administrator Ben Thomas said Wednesday.

Township officials held an open house Wednesday at the township office building on Antrim Church Road to explain the new trail to residents.

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Bids on the project will go out after the first of the year.

The pathway will connect to a network of trails in the park that currently covers about three miles, Thomas said. Eventually the 140-acre park will have about five miles of hiking trails that link to the adjoining township-owned Martin's Mill Covered Bridge and Park.

Plans call for separating the new paved pathway from the roads they parallel with grass buffers.

"Our goal is to create a walkable community with a safe road environment," he said.

The new trail will especially be beneficial to the southwest section of Antrim Township, the township's fastest-growing area, Thomas said.

Children in developments such as Melrose Manor and Shadow Creek, along with new developments already zoned, will be able to safely walk to the community park, Thomas said.

Future plans call for extending the walkway to the Borough of Greencastle and other parts of the township, he said.

The grant is being administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Most rights of way for the walkway are available along existing township roads and through developments that have been set aside in subdivision regulations.

Antrim Township's population in the 2000 census was 12,500. The latest estimates put it at 12,900, Thomas said.

Joseph M. McDowell, an engineer with Martin and Martin Inc. of Chambersburg, Pa., is designing the pathway. He was present Wednesday to explain the project.

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