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Gettysburg poised to move forward on HABPI Inner Loop Project

After extensive grant writing by Gettysburg Borough and Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian, Inc.(HABPI), Gettysburg may be in a positive situation regarding  the Gettysburg Inner Loop bicycle trail, segment GIL-B2.

The borough and HABPI formed a partnership in 2007 to design and build a bicycle/pedestrian system that was safe and ADA mobility welcoming. Most of the west side is now complete and the partnership is now trying to get segment GIL-B2 implemented. 

The new segment will extend from Franklin St. to North Washington via Racehorse Alley and N. Washington St. to Constitution Ave. It could cost a total of $1.2M. HABPI representative Tom Jolin said the project would promote economic development downtown and at the coming Gettysburg Station, as well as promote personal health, air quality, noise reduction, and general livability. The project would update electrical, water, and sewer infrastructure and provide new lighting and permeable ground cover.

Jolin said the borough was in good position to receive a $359,000 grant from the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) but that DCNR was already reviewing proposals. Jolin said the project was about $106,500 short on required matching funds.

Jolin asked the borough to underwrite the $106,500 for the project, although he said it was unlikely the borough would ever have to pay the money and that if alternative funds were not found they could withdraw their support at any time.

“If we lose this opportunity for DNCR funding the whole thing will have to be started over,” said HABPI representative and former council president Susan Naugle.  “This an economic development project as much as anything. It brings people into town.”

Jolin said HABPI would be contributing $33,000 toward the $359,000 match. So far, $252,500 of local commitments have been made. Individuals, the borough and community groups have graciously contributed to the effort.  

Jolin said the area to be improved includes a failed storm water system that the borough will have to fix at some point at a cost of about $300,000 and that if the grants covered part of the storm sewer repairs in the area, that would be a substantial savings to the borough.

Council members expressed concerns about the costs, particularly given the borough has many other needs, but all seven members expressed consensus to support the underwrite. The question will be officially voted on at the next council meeting. 

Council member Matt Moon expressed disapproval about potential safety and funding concerns but council member Patti Lawson said the new design would be much safer than the current situation.

“We’ll work real hard on getting that extra money,” said Naugle.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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