A gravel stretch of the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail could soon be topped with pavement and surrounded by verdant gardens filled with native plants after Marietta Borough was awarded more than a quarter million dollars in grant funding.
“That whole area is the only part of the trail that's kind of an eyesore,” Marietta Borough Council President Glen Mazis said.
Mazis was referring to a short stretch of the 14-mile trail, where it passes along Donegal Place and Furnace Road in the southern part of the borough.
This week, officials at the Maryland-based Chesapeake Bay Trust announced that the borough had been awarded $237,515 through a grant program geared toward capturing stormwater runoff and creating urban green space.
The trail project in Marietta aims to do both, Mazi said. He explained that the plan calls for the now-gravel section of trail to be replaced with porous pavement and lined with water-capturing rain gardens.
“When there is a big rain we get all of this runoff that goes into the river,” he said. “This is going to capture some of that.”
Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants, and many municipalities, including Marietta, are required by government mandate to capture and reduce those pollutants.
The project also will make the trail complainant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mazis said.
But the $237,515 grant won't be enough to cover the cost of the project, which also includes the paving of Donegal Place and Furnace Road. The entire project is estimated to cost $874,00, Mazis said.
Through a combination of liquid fuels funding and budgeted dollars, borough officials also have earmarked $237,000 for the project. They are hopeful that an applied-for grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will cover the rest.
Originally, borough officials hoped work would begin on the project this year, but Mazis admitted Wednesday that work could be postponed due to unknowns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything is absolutely being delayed,” he said.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust also awarded $100,000 to Lancaster city, where spokeswoman Amber Strazzo said the money will be used to partially fund a $400,000 project to curb crashes and speeding on a portion of Highland Avenue while also collecting runoff.
It’s a project that has local residents’ approval, she said, adding there were ongoing safety concerns.
“The neighbors chose the option to paint parking lane lines and to install curb bump outs to reduce the width of the travel lanes,” Strazzo said. “We identified that some of these curb bump outs could be effective rain gardens so green infrastructure was incorporated into the project.”
The project near the city's southern edge is expected to begin this September, she said.