Hiking, biking trail on tap for Harrison this spring
Silver Lake Park in Harrison will be getting a face-lift in the spring thanks to a $249,000 Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant and 22 acres of donated land.
The township and R&Z Harrison Properties LP have partnered to build a walking and biking trail to the park, which abuts land R&Z wants to build into a multi-use business park known as Harrison Point.
"The project is to build a trail along Little Bull Creek and connect Silver Lake Park to a new access at Pleasant Avenue, which is the area off Bull Creek Road," Harrison Point project manager Brian Clark said.
Clark said the land R&Z donated to the township is not part of the Harrison Point development but is necessary to build the trail.
"Right now, the township doesn't own down to Pleasant Avenue," Clark said. "They need the land between Jobe's Hole and the park, so we're donating that."
Pleasant Avenue connects Jobe's Hole, also known as the Park Plan section of Harrison, to Route 366. The area is a ravine near where Harrison, Tarentum and Fawn meet.
Clark said the land donation was used as matching funds for the grant, which Harrison was awarded in November.
"This is a great project," Clark said. "I've worked on projects all over the country — this is the first time I've ever had a local government and a developer working hand-in-hand on design, on implementation. It's just a tribute to the fact that we're all local people."
The first phase of the trail project is expected to begin in the spring. It includes the construction of a trail with four timber bridges that will cross Little Bull Creek, Clark said.
Parts of the Harrison Point development will directly affect the trail, including the reconstruction of Pleasant Avenue and the addition of a paved parking lot.
Clark said Pleasant Avenue will be reconstructed to provide access to both Harrison Point and the trail. He said the parking lot will be open to people who walk or bike the trail.
"At the end of the day, they'll have a road, a parking lot and the bridge and the trail access," Clark said.
Phase 2 of the trail project would be to continue the trail to the Burtner House via Pleasantville Road.
Clark said the township will apply for more grants to fund the project, and R&Z will donate additional land to use as matching funds.
"This is an opportunity ... for the township to improve its recreational facilities at no cost to local taxpayers," he said.
There are plans to enhance and restore Silver Lake as well.
"That's the long-term goal," Commissioner Robin Bergstrom said.
Bergstrom said people have expressed excitement about the project. She remembers when Silver Lake was a fishing lake and Boy Scout troops would fish and camp there.
"We have three or four Boy Scout troops in the area," she said. "If the Boy Scouts could even begin to utilize this again ... that would be great."
Ron Zampogna Jr., a principal in R&Z, said the trail development fits in well with the company's plans for Harrison Point.
"We think it complements the overall development," Zampogna Jr. said. "To be able to rejuvenate that park is great for the community, great for the people, great for the employees that will work in the development. It will bring people to Harrison Township from the surrounding areas to hopefully use the park."
The trail is also in line with the township's comprehensive plan, which has an overall goal of making Harrison a biking and walking community, Bergstrom said.
She said the park can be used by people not just from Harrison but from neighboring communities.
"Tarentum, Brackenridge folks can walk through it," she said. "It's in a pretty good spot."
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, email@example.com or via Twitter @maddyczebstrib.