Vernon seeks trail grant

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  • PHOTO BY DIANA GOOVAERTSThe blue dotted line shows a proposed bike and walking trail Vernon Township officials are seeking a grant for.

Vernon Township is applying for a quarter million dollar grant from the state to fund construction of a new bike and walking trail near the town center.

The state grant carries a maximum award of $250,000, and the application written by municipal officials includes a $15,000 match in funding that would be provided by the township. Mayor Harry Shortway said that money could be provided as either cash funding or services rendered, for instance via work done by the Vernon Department of Public Works to clear and grade the trail.

Though the township is applying for the full $250,000, Shortway noted there's no way to tell how much money the township will receive, if any.

The current design includes a paved path that would start at the municipal building, run down past the Police Athletic League (PAL) building and parallel to Route 94 behind Wings Asian Bistro before making a loop and heading back to the municipal building. However, Township Engineer Cory Stoner said the plan can be revised and scaled back as necessary to match the level of funding received under the grant. Shortway noted, though, that the goal is to achieve compliance with standards set under the Americans with Disabilities Act so the town can apply for federal funding down the line.

Members of the Greenway Committee, speaking during public session at Monday's council meeting, said applying for the state grant is the first step in taking their volunteer efforts to the next level and helping bring more traffic to downtown Vernon businesses.

“Just seeing the amount of people that come in and use our trails – the Appalachian Trail if you go by on a fall day it's crowded, Canal Road is crowded – it's just such a great opportunity to have people come into our town and build our town up,” Greenway Committee member Toni Cilli said.

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