The first phase of a plan to connect the bike and hike paths around Doylestown recently took a step forward, and local officials say the project has a good chance at some state funding.
Doylestown Township supervisors recently agreed to hire Horsham-based consultant Michael Baker to complete an easement and legal study of the portion of the trail that will run through the Pine Run reservoir.
Baker, the consultant that also drafted the 2010 feasibility study for the project, which is called Destination Peace Valley, will be paid $5,254 for the easement study, Doylestown Township manager Stephanie Mason said.
The local municipalities that are cooperating on the project must be able to show that they have the necessary legal agreements in hand before the project can be considered seriously by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mason said.
"We’ve been in touch with DCNR and it looks like this project will get on the short list for money," Mason recently told the township supervisors. "But we need to do this work" to be eligible for grant money.
Baker will prepare the easement and legal description of the portion of the project through the Pine Run Reservoir in Doylestown Township. Mason said the project needs an easement from Bucks County government for part of the route.
This section of the project would connect the existing shared use path on Iron Hill Road through the reservoir to Covered Bridge Park in New Britain Borough. Then it would cross Pine Run Creek and join the existing shared use path on Old Iron Hill Road before crossing Ferry Road and continuing down to Creek Road and connecting to Peace Valley Park.
The preliminary cost estimate of that portion of the project is nearly $1.5 million. The municipalities have applied to the DCNR for a grant to offset that cost.
The second phase of Destination Peace Valley is the Chapman Road link. It would connect the path on Meetinghouse Road near Sandy Ridge Road to Pine Run Road. From there, it would run along Chapman Road, crossing Ferry Road to South Chapman Road and into Peace Valley Park. Cost estimates for that phase are about $500,000.
In the works for a few years, Destination Peace Valley ultimately would link the 18 or so miles of paved paths around the greater Doylestown area together, and to one of the region's most popular recreation destinations.
"It's a great partnership, because you've got Doylestown Borough and Doylestown Township, New Britain Borough and New Britain Township and Chalfont all working together to bring it home," Mason said Tuesday. "That's a major destination for people, to get to Peace Valley; the trails are very popular."
To review the feasibility study, click on the pdf file attached to this article.