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Connector trails will be part of landscape

Megan Guza
| Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

By this time next year, Allegheny County will be one step closer to connecting its network of trails.

Construction will begin in April on the first phase of a trail that will connect Settlers Cabin Park to the Panhandle Trail in Collier Township, Allegheny County officials said during a July 30 meeting in Collier.

“Our goal is to connect as many of our parks as we can,” said Andy Baechle, director of the county parks department.

Phase 1 of the Settlers Cabin Park Panhandle Connector Trail Project involves an existing road – Greer Road, an old township road no longer in use that runs through the woods from Settlers Cabin to Pinkerton Run Road. The .67-mile trail is slated to be finished by June 30, 2014.

“What we want to do is turn what is left of that road into a trail,” project manager David Wright said.

The end-goal is a paved, shared-use trail that can accommodate bicycles, walkers, runners, strollers and individuals with disabilities.

Because the trail will follow an existing road, it will also follow the steep hills of the landscape.

Because of the grade, the trail will not be compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. A sign at the beginning of the trail, behind the Settlers Cabin park office, will specify the grade and other information about the trail.

“Just so people know what they're getting into,” said Sara Moore, of Moore Design Associates based in Mars. Her firm is designing the trail.

Phase 1 is being funded through $500,000 in grants. The Allegheny County Parks Foundation received $250,000 from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The county parks department matched the grant.

Funding for the second phase of the project, which would further connect Settlers Cabin to the Panhandle Trail entrance near Walker's Mill, has not been secured yet.

The Panhandle Trail is a 29-mile trail that begins in Walker's Mill and runs through a portion of Collier Township. It ends in Weirton, W.Va.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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