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Fundraising for rails-to-trails project running through Murrysville nears finish

| Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland County parks officials hope to complete fundraising for the Turtle Creek Railroad Corridor rails-to-trails project by spring or summer, they announced to Murrysville Council on Wednesday.

Officials have been working to acquire the corridor, which spans about 10 miles in Trafford, Monroeville, Penn Township, Murrysville and Export. Six of the miles travel through Murrysville, Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Director Malcolm Sias said.

The project is expected to cost $1,064,000, which includes $865,000 to buy the railroad from Dura-Bond Industries, along with costs for titles and engineering, Sias said.

A fundraising and grant-writing campaign is in the works. So far, $715,000 has been raised.

The trail would extend the Westmoreland Heritage Trail to host bikers and walkers.

“We're making a lot of progress,” Sias said. “It's going to be a great thing for this community to have.”

One end of the trail will be at Lincoln Avenue in Export.

There will be plenty of space to park there, Murrysville Mayor Bob Brooks said. Then, hikers and bikers can take on the trail, stopping to eat in local towns, seeing historic centers and traveling through Murrysville's Duff Park, he said.

Nine miles of heritage trail are built from Slickville to Delmont, Sias said.

“The idea was to cross the county totally and completely on the old corridor … that's 22 miles,” Sias said.

With the Turtle Creek Railroad Corridor, 18.5 miles would be complete.

In Trafford, the trail is 4 miles from the Great Allegheny Passage.

“Some day, we could be connecting the Great Allegheny Passage, and you'd be able to hop on your bike in Murrysville to Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.,” Sias said.

To help raise money for the project, the county parks and recreation citizens' advisory board will host a “March for Parks” event in Murrysville on March 29.

March for Parks events will be held simultaneously in Greensburg, Belle Vernon and Murrysville, benefiting Twin Lakes Park, Cedar Creek Park and the Turtle Creek Rail-Trail.

Those interested can raise money to support county parks and recreation projects, then walk with their team on the day of the event.

The Murrysville event will be held at Murrysville SportZone. For more information, visit the municipal building or the county's website.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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