Marsh Creek Greenway Project receives funding

Tioga County officials couldn’t be happier with the news of state funding in the amount of $1.5 million targeted for the Marsh Creek Greenway project to connect downtown Wellsboro with the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

“This is great news for the community and a great investment in the recreational opportunities available to both residents and visitors to the Wellsboro area,” State Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Wellsboro, said. “So many people have been working so hard on this project, and this funding is another major step forward for us.”

The project includes construction of 17,800 linear feet of Americans Disability Act accessible trail, bike/pedestrian amenities, bridge improvements/replacements, stormwater controls, curbs, sidewalks, signs and public amenities. It also includes the acquisition and demolition of a freight building to be replaced with a 5,000-square-foot trailhead building and parking lot for restrooms, retail space, office space, an eatery and a small museum.

Tioga County Commissioner Erick Coolidge said parts of the completed trail see plenty of bicycle traffic already, and further work toward completion of the Pine Creek Rail Trail project to connect Wellsboro south to Jersey Shore will only further boost economic development for the region.

“Everybody is embracing this economic development to this rural community,” he said.

The hope, he said, is to complete the Marsh Creek segment of the project by early 2023.

The project is expected to attract more than 64,000 visitors to the area, generate $8 million to $11 million in consumer spending, boost local arts and service industries, and accommodate biking, hiking, running and walking, according to Owlett.

“While this state funding will not cover the entire cost of the project, the investment is certainly an endorsement of the project’s value and of the hard work poured into it so far,” he said. “Combined with the local support and donations, we are well on the way to making this project a reality. This is just another example of the great things that can happen when we all work together.”

Coupled with the expected addition of broadband internet connectivity to the region, the project will mean a real shot in the arm for Tioga County, Coolidge noted.

The funding was awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Project (RACP) program, dedicated to the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

RACP projects are authorized by the state Legislature Projects and must have a regional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.