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Trail would provide safe trek through RIDC Park

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Inventionland founder Geroge Davison shows map of the walking trails coming to RIDC park.

A two-mile walking trail at RIDC Park in O'Hara is expected to create a campus-like feel and improve safety at the industrial property that straddles Route 28.

The path is expected to be constructed in 2014.

“Anyone who walks to work from the bus stop, anyone who walks on their lunch hour — and there's a lot of people who do — and anyone who comes to the park at night to walk their dog will be excited,” said George Davison, president of Inventionland along Alpha Drive and head of the RIDC Park Alliance, a group aimed at beautifying the area.

There is no cost estimate yet for the project, township Manager Julie Jakubec said. Sources of funding also haven't been determined.

As proposed, the trail will be five feet wide, constructed of steel-edged crushed stone and be installed to create a loop past many of the 130 businesses there.

“You'll never have to cross a road,” Davison said.

O'Hara Engineer Chuck Steinert already has drawn up plans for the tentative project. Council will need to OK the final design.

“There are thousands of cars driven through here every day,” Davison said. “We wanted to come up with a way to provide a safe, beautified walk or jog for people. It's a way to give employees a better way of life on their breaks,” Davison said.

RIDC Park stretches across 700 acres but is not conducive to a lunchtime stroll. There are few walkways. Employees who take Port Authority buses to the park entrance at the Blawnox line trek up and down a hill streaming with vehicles, said Judy Mihon, alliance board member and business manager at Vascor Inc.

“It's a safety concern,” Mihon said.

And not just for the walkers. Mihon said motorists often express aggravation with groups of walkers. Throughout the year, and especially when the weather is pleasant, hundreds of park employees and nearby residents walk along the streets, she said.

“I'm delighted the plan for the trail is moving along,” Mihon said. “It's so overdue.”

Council members previously considered a trail as part of the township's long-range plans, because there is potential to install one without much disruption, Jakubec has said.

Davison said the trail is proof that the business community and township can come together for significant projects.

“We can make good things happen,” he said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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