The Marsh Creek Greenway project gained traction as 2017 came to a close. Insinger Excavating began work on the center section to re-align Marsh Creek to reduce erosion, protect houses and the train line and lay the footprint for the trail.
Started in 2005, the project to connect Wellsboro with the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Delmar Township languished until 2010 when a $1.88 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant from the Federal Highway Administration came through because the county failed an air quality evaluation.
In May, officials received word that the project had been awarded $1.5 million in Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside funds for a three-mile extension to “close a gap in the trail, promoting tourism and increasing economic activity.”
In August, the Tioga County commissioners approved an agreement with Patterson Lumber Co. to purchase about 2.5 acres for $320,000. The property will become the trailhead for the greenway. A $160,000 state Community Conservation Partnerships Program grant awarded in November will cover half of the purchase price. The property will be renovated for parking, comfort facilities and possibly to accommodate the excursion train.
Engineers for the project sought public input at a meeting in October. The project, which has a final price tag of $11 million, will use state and federal sources, local match and donations to construct the 3.2-mile trail for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The trail will have creek access, picnic areas, benches and other opportunities to interact with nature.
The next step is to obtain environmental clearance and preliminary engineering by summer 2019; initiate final design by fall that year and complete the final design by spring 2021. Project representatives hope to secure funding for construction by summer 2021 and begin construction in spring 2022 with construction completed by fall 2023.