Versailles officials seek funds to develop recreational trail
Versailles officials are taking steps to develop a recreational trail along the borough's riverfront, even though the project may have a funding shortfall of $10,000.
Borough council on Monday voted to seek bids for the project, which would develop an approximately 2,000-foot-long limestone trail from Juniper Street to Center Street on riverside land owned by the borough.
When the project was designed in early 2013, borough engineer Mike Glister of Gateway Engineering said it had an estimated price tag of about $35,000. Since then, he said, the anticipated cost of the project has gone up to $45,000, mostly because of large amounts of debris that are located along the projected path of the trail.
The original project was approved for federal Community Development Block Grant funding through Twin Rivers Council of Governments.
Borough Solicitor Pat McGrail told council it may want to see if additional block grant money is available to cover the difference in cost, noting the application deadline for the latest round of block grant funding is near.
Borough officials discussed other ways to make up for the shortfall.
Mayor James Fleckenstein said much of the debris in the project area is from utility companies that “have dumped down there for years.”
The mayor suggested sending utility companies a letter asking for their assistance in cleaning up the mess.
Councilwoman Linda Sheedy said a letter can't hurt, adding, “All they can do is say no.”
In addition to the letter, borough officials discussed using millings from a recent paving project on the trail in place of limestone to help cut costs.
Fleckenstein said he didn't think an idea suggested by Councilman James Sheedy, to have borough street crews remove the debris, would be feasible because there is so much of it.
“You'd need a bulldozer down there,” he said.
Glister said other options are shortening the length of the trail or narrowing its width from a proposed eight feet to six.
Glister said the trail's path could be altered to avoid the debris but borough officials were skeptical of that idea, saying there likely would be additional design costs.
Council will vote again on the future of the trail after bids are submitted.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.