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Meeting set on trails plan for Berkeley Co.

July 07, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Community trails and recreation enthusiasts are invited to attend a meeting to be held July 14 at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center Eastern Division in Martinsburg with the goal of producing a trails implementation plan for Berkeley County.

The Berkeley County Trail initiative meeting will be held at the medical school branch campus from 6 to 9 p.m. at 2500 Foundation Way, the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council (Region 9) announced.

The trails implementation plan is to be built on community consensus from participant input and will provide specific, prioritized objectives and action strategies, as well as bring community trails and recreational enthusiasts together, officials announced.

The trail initiative has been spurred by a $5,000 grant that Region 9 received from the Brownfields Foundation for Overcoming Challenges and Utilizing Strengths (FOCUS) in West Virginia Mini Grant Project, according to Region 9.

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A need for bike trails, walking paths and places to hike were top priorities identified in a 14-question "community survey" that was completed by more than 600 residents in conjunction with development of the county's 2006 comprehensive plan, according to Region 9.

About 35 percent of the randomly selected individuals who completed the survey indicated they "strongly agree" that Berkeley County needs more places to walk and hike, and another 34 percent said they strongly feel the county needs more bike trails/paths, according to survey results.

Given the response to the survey, Matthew Pennington of the Berkeley County Planning Department said Tuesday he is hoping for a large turnout of residents to share their preferences for types of trails and paths.

"We need them to come out and take charge," Pennington said.

For additional information on the community trails meeting, residents may contact the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council at 304-263-1743.

For additional information on the Brownfields FOCUS WV Mini Grant Project, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, the West Virginia Water Research Institute, and/or the National Research Center for Coal & Energy and their programs, go to www.wvbrownfields.org.

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