Thursday, September 25, 2014

DCNR, Partners Celebrate Dedication of Chester County Trail Segment

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti Thursday joined Chester County officials in celebrating completion of a key segment of the Chester Valley Trail in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.
DCNR invested $500,000 through its Community Conservation Partnerships Program in this section of a trail that eventually will extend 18.5 miles from the Downingtown area east to Montgomery County and a connection with the Schuylkill River Trail.
“Our department is proud to partner on projects such as this in Chester County as we know the commitment and the interest is here,” Ferretti told the dedication gathering. ”Recent survey data shows trails ranked as the number one recreational interest among Pennsylvanians, and people want them close to home.
“Pennsylvania has thousands of miles of trails available to connect citizens with the wonders of the outdoors. Built through partnerships with local communities and stakeholders, they offer opportunities for fitness and stewardship, and simply an enjoyable walk, run or hike for residents and visitors of all ages and abilities,” Ferretti said.
Noting the Chester Valley Trail project dates back to 1991, when representatives of Chester and Montgomery counties and PennDOT envisioned a soon-to-be-abandoned rail line as a major trail, Ferretti said recent economic impact studies show “rails trails offer a strong economic boost to local communities, generating substantial user-spending annually.
“Trails are all about connections and we know users that come will be making those connections -- to the towns, to the abundant natural resources found along the way, and to businesses offering a place to stop for a coffee or meal -- endless possibilities,” Ferretti said.
Speaking at the trail’s Exton Park trailhead, Chester County Commissioners Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell acknowledged DCNR and other parties that contributed to the design and construction of this latest section of the Chester Valley Trail.
“While it may be shorter in distance than the first two sections of the trail, the completion of phase three is a vital link in the Chester Valley Trail project,” said Commissioner Cozzone.  “It connects sections of the existing trail on both sides of Route 100 and runs through corporate park buildings and shopping centers as well as providing even more neighborhood access.”
The addition of phase three brings the total length of the Chester Valley Trail in Chester County to 13.5 miles.  The project included the rebuilding of approximately half a mile of an unpaved demonstration trail section between Ship Road and the Exton Park site, and a signalized trail crossing of Business Route 30 at North Ship Road.
“We know that hundreds of thousands of people use the Chester Valley Trail every year,” Commissioner Farrell said, “and as it expands, so too does the number of people using it for commuting as well as for recreation.”
Specifically, DCNR funding covered construction of approximately 1.2 miles of trail, ADA access, landscaping, project signage and other related site improvements. This third phase extends west from the Exton Park site on Church Farm Lane to Iron Lake Boulevard and the Main Street at Exton retail area.
Total construction cost was $1.14 million, with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission also contributing a $500,000 grant.
Another future section of the trail will be approximately one mile in length and continue the trail from Main St. at Exton, west to the Oaklands Corporate Center.
For more information, visit DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program webpage.

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