Parkland Press

Monday, September 24, 2018

County offers land to township

Thursday, May 31, 2018 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

Lehigh County has offered a gift of land to South Whitehall Township at Covered Bridge Park upstream from Wehr’s Dam on the north side of the stream.

Director of Township Operations Randy Cope reports the county and South Whitehall purchased the 24-acre parcel jointly in 1994 at a cost of $175,000.

Since then, the township has maintained the property, although ownership continued at 50-50 for the two entities.

Cope explained the section of land is included in the Covered Bridge Park master plan.

He said for planning and maintenance matters, the county was ready to relinquish its share.

“It is in the best interest of both parties for South Whitehall to have it,” Cope said. “It is vital to construction of the Jordan Creek Greenway.

“The county gave their interest, and the township will be the sole owner.

“When we both got together for discussions of the Greenway, it didn’t make sense for two of us to own it.”

Conveyance of the parcel is subject to a restrictive covenant specifying the land be used for outdoor recreation and education to benefit the public, including residents of South Whitehall and Lehigh County.

At a recent meeting, South Whitehall commissioners voted to accept the gift of land.

To make it official, county commissioners must approve the transaction at readings at two meetings, Cope said.

He anticipates bids being awarded soon for construction of the trail between Wehr Mill Road and the end of the 24 acre property given by the county.

The section will be funded by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Lehigh County.

“Later this summer, we’ll go out to bid for the second portion of the trail funded through PennDOT,” Cope said. “This will connect the 24-acre plot with trail under the Pa. Turnpike to Route 309.”