Article By: SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press
With nearly a mile of the Jordan Creek Greenway completed in South Whitehall, township commissioners granted approval to a project which will include a 2-mile, 10-foot paved trail from Wehr Mill Road to Cedar Crest Boulevard and Parkland High School.
The new section will connect with the portion already finished from Wehr Mill Road westward.
Parks and Recreation Manager Mike Kukitz, at the commissioners’ March 4 meeting, received permission from the board to seek an engineering consultant to prepare trail plans and crossing specifications, to develop cost estimates, and to obtain permits for the future construction.
Kukitz stated this engineering and design phase will be funded through a $150,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
This will be matched from the township capital projects budget.
Director of Township Operations Randy Cope reported the first section of the trail was funded by grants of $260,000 from Lehigh County, $250,000 from the DCNR, and $550,000 from PennDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program.
That earlier portion consumed six years from start to finish.
“Hopefully it will work faster this time,” Cope said.
When finalized, the Jordan Creek Greenway will cover 14 miles from the City of Allentown to the Trexler Nature Preserve.
Cope said Lehigh County completed its section of the Greenway through Jordan Parkway.
He also noted seven miles of the trail will run through South Whitehall.
“This stretch will give kids an alternative way to school and will give the Cross-country team a trail,” Cope said.
He said the Wildlands Conservancy is helpful in explaining the trail to property owners to obtain easements.
“It could be all on South Whitehall land but that might not be the most efficient,” Cope explained.
He said the pathway of the new section is undetermined, as it will be affected by the availability of easements and decisions made by the funding partner.
The ultimate trail connections from South Whitehall will go from Cedar Crest Boulevard to Mauch Chunk Road on the east and to the North Whitehall Township boundary line on the west.
The portion under consideration now will “shave two miles off the gap” toward the eastern side connection, Cope said.
He summed up his experience thus far with the Jordan Creek Greenway.
“One thing I find out about trails — just keep pushing through,” Cope said. “You find a hurdle, just keep pushing over it.”