Happy Trails

By on July 22, 2015
The underpass on the Rail Trail in Ephrata.

Ephrata Township supervisors got an upbeat update on the rail trail at their Tuesday night meeting.

The board heard an update about work on a portion of the linear rail trail that ends at the Akron border. There, a heavily wooded section of the former railroad bed is being cleared of brush and trees in advance of construction of the next phase of the trail.

Township Manager Steve Sawyer told leaders that process was approximately 80 percent compete with considerable progress made over the previous two days of work.

“There are a few isolated trees that still need to come out,” explained Sawyer. “About 11 or 12 feet have already been done, beginning at Millway Road and working toward the Akron Borough line.”

Sawyer explained that some portions of the trail are fairly narrow but clearing out the trees and underbrush should help. Sawyer said he was providing an update to the board, but no action was required from it.

Rail trail  (5)

Construction continues on the rail trail.

“Because it is an old railroad bed, even if it is a rainy day they can go in and work on the area,” added Sawyer. “We did not give them a firm deadline when this needed to be done, but we do hope to have this phase of the project done by the end of September.”

No major construction on that next phase of the trail is planned until spring 2016. So far, Sawyer said all of the work needed to be done is by hand and a chipper. With no exceptionally large trees on the former railroad bed itself, the stumps will be removed at a later point to allow for a better base for paving.

In another matter, Pioneer Fire Company President Jim Keiffer asked that the township consider being responsible for grass mowing should the fire company enter into an agreement to develop a piece of borough-owned property into a fire-training facility.

But Keiffer’s request for support raised a number of other questions by the supervisors who delayed a decision on the request.

The fire company is interested in land off East Trout Run Road in Ephrata Township across the street from Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 2. But those negotiations with the borough have not been as smooth as expected. Questions have arisen over the actual amount of land the fire company would like to lease, who would be responsible for the cost of mowing the grass, and the cost and impact to the borough’s annual contribution to the fire company. Additional questions arose regarding storm water regulations.

“You’d need to take into account the holding area if you have impervious for water and whether or not you have a pond for run off,” said Supervisor Clark Stauffer. “Are we going to have to mow that pond? We don’t know what we are being asked to bite off.”

For his part, Keiffer seemed a bit taken off-guard by supervisors’ questions.

A cozy bench along the trail.

A cozy bench along the trail.

“I am not sure,” said Keiffer. “Our concern is the cost of mowing. But we will get that information to you.”

Assistant Chief Ken Weber, also at the meeting, agreed to help gather information, hopefully by the next supervisors’ meeting. Both Weber and Keiffer indicated, albeit with some uncertainty, that the mowing was not necessarily a make or break deal to move forward with the training center.

For additional information on Ephrata Township, visit the Web site at www.ephratatownship.org.

Gary P. Klinger welcomes your feedback via e-mail at klingerglobal@gmail.com.

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