Parkland Press

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Rail Trail Commission meets in North Whitehall Township

Thursday, August 8, 2019 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

The Ironton Rail-Trail Oversight Commission plans to set up a committee of its members to come up with ideas and recommendations for the board to consider and implement as it moves forward, taking into account many are charter members and appointees.

Ray Deutsch of North Whitehall Township said during the July meeting, that looking ahead 10- to 15 years, changes are likely to occur as its fold has most members in the 60- and 70-year-old age bracket.

Unlike most organizations, whose members only attend meetings, the IRT Oversight Commission is a working body, overseeing and having working parties on Saturdays to ensure the trail’s reputation as the crown-jewel of trails by experts, the public and publications is maintained.

Holding the first-ever meeting at the North Whitehall Trailhead in July, Deutsch mentioned some simple ideas, such as cutting back the brush and trees earlier in the year, before the foliage blossoms and grows.

This idea would hopefully to reduce the number of work sessions later.

Realizing local government may have to be more of a major player regarding the trail in future years, the commission’s input is important.

The governing bodies do have an active role regarding the IRT trail, its loop with Whitehall and Coplay, and in North Whitehall.

With plentiful donated memorial benches, some 30-plus, the commission is closing the chapter regarding memorial benches, putting in its place memorial tree plantings via donations.

The commission has no plans for a marked bike lane on the trail, mentioning walkers and bikers apply the rules of the road while on the trail, which, except for a rare incident, is the norm.

Secretary Ray Bieak said the area under the Coplay-Northampton Bridge under construction hopefully will have the contractor pave the section under the span once the bridge is completed and opened.