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Trail project will connect Berlin borough to major 9/11 memorials

Stephen Huba
| Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 3:04 p.m.
The September 11 National Memorial Trail will pass through the Flight 93 National Memorial, shown in 2015, via the Somerset County boroughs of Garrett, Berlin and Shanksville.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
The September 11 National Memorial Trail will pass through the Flight 93 National Memorial, shown in 2015, via the Somerset County boroughs of Garrett, Berlin and Shanksville.

The tiny Somerset County borough of Berlin has received a $1.2 million grant from PennDOT to help it tie into the multi-state September 11th National Memorial Trail .

The trail will use existing trails and new construction to connect the three main 9/11 memorials — the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, the National September 11 Memorial in New York City and the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.

The Berlin Revitalization Project, which includes sidewalks, curbs and streetscapes, will make improvements to the section of the borough that sits on the trail.

“The town has really embraced this whole project, and they just want to get this underway to make their town more inviting,” said Steve Spochart, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of Somerset County.

The borough began a Main Street improvement project in 2017 “to show they're serious about” the larger trail project, he said.

The National Memorial Trail will follow the Great Allegheny Passage to Garrett and roughly parallel Buffalo Creek from Garrett to Berlin, Spochart said.

From Berlin, it will continue to Shanksville and the Flight 93 Memorial, across the state and, ultimately, to New York.

“It's bigger than just this section,” he said. “It ties into a bigger regional trail with a goal of connecting all three of these memorials with on- and off-road trails.”

The Berlin grant was one of 82 projects totaling $66.8 million announced Tuesday by Gov. Tom Wolf and PennDOT. The money comes from the state's Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program, which funds projects that enhance mobility and accessibility.

Other projects are being funded in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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