Commission discusses trail study

LEWISTOWN–The Mifflin County Planning Commission discussed a trail feasibility study for the Main Line Canal Greenway Trail on Thursday afternoon at the Mifflin County Courthouse. The trail is being implemented between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg as a way to connect to various regions throughout the commonwealth and showcase different landscapes and landmarks.

Additionally, the project is associated with the September 11th National Memorial Trail, which aims to link together memorial sites from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The feasibility study was conducted in order to find the best trail placement for the Main Line Canal Greenway/September 11th National Memorial Trail in Mifflin County.

Robert Thomas, of Campbell Thomas and Co., stated that the study analyzed historical trail patterns, highways and maps, as well as utility lines, in order to determine the best way to implement a new trail section locally. He noted that, once implemented, the trail will be accessible by a variety of means, such as driving, walking and biking.

Thomas also stated that the project is planned to stay as close to the original corridor of the Juniata River as possible and it is also planned to connect to other regional trails and downtown business areas.

“We’re very aware that we’re serving people who visit, but we’re also serving residents,” Thomas added.

Jane Sheffield, executive director of the Allegheny Ridge Corporation, said, “The bottom line is that eventually as we put this together and get these communities connected, it is going to be a longer trail experience and a multi-use trail that will enhance the kind of traffic that you get into this community.”

James Laird, of Laird Recreation and Land Planning LLC stated, “It’s like a linear national park coming through our communities and linking us all together.”

In other business, the group chose to re-elect Kay Semler as chairman of the planning commission and Dan Dunmire as vice chairman. Additionally, the group discussed the Subdivision and Land Development Review, which included a project review for the current Kish Bank branch office in Brown Township. According to Jim Lettiere, assistant director of Mifflin County Planning and Development, the existing office is proposed to be demolished and replaced with a fast food restaurant, while the Kish Bank Financial Center will be converted into a branch office. Additionally, the former location of the Dutch Country Restaurant in Brown Township is proposed to be the new site of a Kish Bank Operations Center.

The Mifflin County Planning Commission meets at 3:30 p.m. at the end of each month at the Mifflin County Courthouse.