South Williamsport board members receive status update on Sylvan Dell construction

The South Williamsport Area School Board heard an update Monday on the upcoming Sylvan Dell construction project.

Jenny Picciano, of Lycoming County’s community development department gave a presentation detailing the project’s current status as well as further informing the board of the specifics it would entail.

The 229-acre Sylvan Dell Preserve site is located along the Susquehanna River in Armstrong Township and is the historical location of an Indigenous People trail.

According to Picciano’s presentation, the project aims to “preserve the cultural and historical resources of the site while protecting key riparian habitat in the West Branch’s Susquehanna River watershed.” Picciano’s offered descriptions of many uses for the projected property, including habitat restoration, trails, canoe and kayak access and educational/interpretative facilities.

The organizers of the Sylvan Dell project see the purpose of the land to be “a passive park that will protect important habitat while providing new recreation and education opportunities, such as bicycling and bird watching,” according to the presentation.

The project is projected to cost $1.44 million with the funds already having been secured from Lycoming County, PennVEST and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Picciano said.

To assist in the administration of the park, a South Side Recreation Authority is being created for long-term ownership and site maintenance. A memorandum of understanding will be signed between members, with the authority to be finalized in the spring. Armstrong Township will close on the property, which it will then transfer to the authority.

In other business, a conference was approved for the first grade team to attend, which will be held in Williamsport in March. After weighing whether shortening the already strapped teaching staff for a conference would be wise, even if for only one day, the long-term benefits of the conference were deemed worthwhile and the motion passed unanimously.