If you’ve been in Foxburg in the last 9 months, you’ve probably noticed a big change. The Allegheny River Trail in Clarion County (ARTinCC) has been making progress on closing the Foxburg–Emlenton gap of the bike trail. With a DCNR grant and the additional help of a generous local supporter, the group was able to close on the sale of the 2+ acres next to the bridge. Volunteers came together over the next 6–9 months to clear brush, trees, old building materials, and overgrowth, logging over 1,000 hours.
ARTinCC has been applying for grants to fund the endeavor. A grant for $533,000 was awarded from DCNR to construct the first mile of the trail from Foxburg to Emlenton. Additionally, a 20% match will come from local citizens and businesses. A second grant of $27,000 was awarded from the Commonwealth Finance Authority (CFA) of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). This grant is in partnership with Foxburg Borough. With a 15% local match, these funds will be used to plan the new Fox-Hunt Park at the intersection of Route 58 and Railroad Street in Foxburg. And, just recently, a third grant was awarded. This grant from the CFA to ARTinCC and the Foxburg Borough is for the “Fox-Hunt Park Master Plan and Related Public Protections.”
ARTinCC reports productive meetings with most of the remaining landowners on the 2.2 miles of trail South of Emlenton and they will be seeking additional grant money to help fund easements over these properties, then another grant application will be sent to fund those last 2.2 miles.
Next steps include seeking construction bids and additional engineering for the trailhead, sourcing drainage pipe materials, and installing the new pipe. Time was spent by volunteers identifying old drainage pipes and finding locations for new drainage systems. Meetings with the Park Planning Contractor will be held soon. ARTinCC will be working with local businesses and invested residents to evaluate the needs of the community and how to best accomplish them. Some suggestions already received are an ADA boat launch, gazebo, band shell, bike rental, and farmer’s market. Once a plan is completed, additional grants will be pursued for construction.
ARTinCC says, “It has taken years of preparation and the efforts of many to get us to this point. We are close to making all the agreements necessary to close the gap and build a beautiful park along the Allegheny River in Clarion County for all to enjoy. We are grateful to all of the local businesses, agencies, and elected officials who have been fervent supporters of our efforts. ARTinCC always welcomes new friends, new donors, and new volunteers.” To stay up-to-date and see photos of their progress and vision, visit their website artincc.org. You can also join nearly 1,500 other “Friends of the Trail” by following ARTinCC on Facebook facebook.com/AlleghenyRiverTrailinClarionCounty.
Rachel Brosnahan is the Community Engagement Coordinator for River Roots Redevelopment.
She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org