– More than $426,700 in state grant funds will help fund the first mile of the bike trail from Foxburg to Emlenton as part of the ARTinCC project, Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) and Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Clarion/Venango/Butler/Warren) announced this week.
The funding was awarded to the Allegheny River Trail Inc. to further develop the trail within the borough. Specific work will include construction of approximately 1 mile of trail from Route 58 to the Richland Township line and trailhead, disability access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.
“Outdoor recreational opportunities in this part of the county are leading to increased interest in our region from both local residents and return visitors,” Oberlander said in her advocacy for the grant. “That increased interest is resulting in the need for even more opportunities in the Foxburg area which sits along the Allegheny River and is noted for its beauty and peacefulness.”
In recent years, the town has flourished, attracting close to 5,000 weekend visitors to a community with only 200 permanent residents. Part of that success comes from hikers and cyclists using the trail from Parker to Oil City or visitors to the town. This project is part of a 3.5-mile section between Foxburg and Emlenton – a project that has been envisioned for a number of years. Recent studies have indicated that finishing this section would substantially increase economic activity, creating new jobs and adding to the local tax base.
“I was proud to support the efforts of the Allegheny River Trail in Clarion County, and I am thrilled to see that they’ve received this substantial grant award for right here in Foxburg Borough,” said Hutchinson. “The improvements to the Allegheny River Trail will continue to grow the recreational opportunities for all throughout our region.”
Spearing the initiative have been committee members Bob Jennings Jr. and Anne Maron, along with the late Rep. Fred McIlhattan. Also supporting the project have been numerous individuals, businesses and the Clarion County Board of Commissioners.
“Scores of supporters and local businesses are credited on ARTinCC.org’s website, and additional businesses and volunteers have contributed over 800 hundred hours of effort from October 2021 to date to get the land ready for construction,” Jennings added. “We’d like to thank the many local and regional players, whose support and advocacy have allowed us to compete with much larger and more populous regions of the state.”
Construction on the first mile of trail will commence after January 2023. At the same time, current efforts to further advance the remaining 2.2 miles of undeveloped trail up to Emlenton, will accelerate, so that the entire 3.2-mile gap soon can be completed.
The grants are administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Community Conservation Partnerships Program (C2P2), with funding from the Keystone Fund, which is generated from a portion of the realty transfer tax; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the ATV/Snowmobile Fund generated through fees for licenses; and federal money.
The funding will be supplemented by more than $106,000 in match money and volunteer labor raised by ARTinCC from the local community.
Representative Donna Oberlander
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton
RepOberlander.com / Facebook.com/RepOberlander