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Land Trust, Ford City to partner on trail grant

FORD CITY — The Allegheny Valley Land Trust is joining with the borough to apply for a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant that would help with an estimated $41,000 project to complete the Ford City Trail part of the Armstrong Trail.

The project is for the section of the trail from 14th Street to the McCain Street Crossing near the Manor Township fire hall in a corridor between Second and Third avenues in the northern end of town.

The section is an area of the trail where work could not be performed before due to a former lawsuit over claim to the rail property. That lawsuit has been settled, with judgment in favor of AVLT.

"We want to see that section of the trail through Ford City completed," said Dave Rupert, a member of AVLT, in his proposal to borough council at a public meeting Monday. The gap causes confusion to visitors, he said.

Council in turn approved applying for the DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Program grant and for a $5,000 Armstrong County Recreational Grant as part of the match for the DCNR grant. Borough officials will ask the county's Planning Department to write both grant applications.

The land trust is working in conjunction with Manorville and Kittanning for grants to do similar trail completion projects, Rupert said.

Funding from a DCNR grant requires a minimum match of 20 percent to 50 percent of the total project cost, Rupert said.

The AVLT will commit $5,000 in goods, services, materials and/or cash to the Ford City Trail project to help with the borough's match.

Rupert suggested that the borough use its workers to do some of the construction work — he estimated that would amount to about $7,500 in kind for part of the match. He also suggested that landscaping work by volunteers from local garden clubs would be worth about $4,000 in matching funds. The county recreational grant is $5,000.

Another match for the grant comes from a donation of tree removal from the corridor in the amount of $2,000.

Council approved giving permission to Dave Crotallo of Crotallo Monument and Landscaping to remove the trees that need to be cleared from the trail corridor from 14th Street to 17th Street. Crotallo will donate his services.

Rupert's estimate for the grant application to DCNR would show Ford City and its partners as committing a match of $23,500.

"There is no cash cost to the borough, but a labor match," Rupert said.

The project includes engineering costs, guiderail removal and replacement, signage, tree removal and landscaping materials. The project will use 450 tons of crushed limestone for the trail surface.

Rupert said he expects to learn by fall whether the state grant is approved.

"The earliest we can do this (trail work) is the summer of 2013," he said.

In other borough business, council approved soliciting for members for the borough's Shade Tree Committee.

The committee, consisting of three members, currently has no members. The purpose of the Shade Tree Committee is to control shade trees in the borough. The committee is authorized to plant, eliminate and maintain the trees.

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