BROOKVILLE — Brookville native Arthur McKinley and Dan Moore, of DEM Surveying, proposed a Riverwalk construction project to Brookville Borough Council Tuesday night.
The proposal is for the construction of a two and half mile tree-lined trail to highlight the waterways flowing through Brookville – the North Fork, Sandy Lick, and Redbank rivers. McKinley points to the town history of using the surrounding waterways to prosper and further industry. Now they are a natural resource that has fallen from the public’s focus. “It’s time to bring them back to prominence,” McKinley said.
The idea is to reclaim the riverbanks in a way that adds to the quality of life of the community. The trail will turn the riverbanks into a natural central attraction for the town, McKinley said. Trees will line the path in an inviting connection between the town and some of the most prominent points of recreation around it. This would serve as a biking, jogging, or walking path, forming a loop around the waters surrounding Brookville.
McKinley also noted that the tree-lined pathway would be inexpensive to create and to maintain. The proposal also calls for putting flower boxes on the bridges that cross the waterways to make them more inviting.
The success of similar projects, the Redbank Valley Trails and Scripture Rocks, show the popularity of outdoor recreation and public value for such projects. The creation of this path would connect the Redbank Trails with down town Brookville, Walter Dick Park, and the Memorial Park. McKinley and Moore also hope the creation of this path will bring more activities and commerce to Brookville.
This plan has gained the support of Revitalize Brookville, Redbank Valley Trails, Jefferson County Historical Society, and Historic Brookville. By talking with Brookville Borough Soliciter, Jim Dennison, it was determined that the Brookville Borough controls the land along the flood control embankment, and can create a right of way easement for the length proposed for the Riverwalk. This means the project would not have to get permission from individual property owners, and would speed the project up.
Borough solicitor Jim Dennison noted that the borough owns the flood control project. He said they would need to determine if the Corps of Army Engineers had a problem with the planting of trees in the area.
Borough manager Dana Schreckengost noted that the borough’s permit mandates that it remove trees from certain areas of the flood plain.
Councilman Rick Baughman said he was not against trees or the project but wanted to make sure council looked at the infrastructure system in the area. He noted that he didn’t want to cause a problem 20 years down the road with tree roots damaging the borough’s sewer lines.
McKinley already has the backing of Historic Brookville Inc. for the project.
Councilwoman Karen Allgeier noted that Clearfield Borough had completed a Riverwalk project using a PennDOT grant. She noted that by going through PennDOT for the project in Clearfield, the borough only had to pay for the engineering study and that PennDOT did the work.
Council approved taking the first step by having Dennison take a look at the area to see if the project is possible or not.
Schreckengost had three items under her borough manager’s report.
First was the special event permit for the Brookville Laurel Festival. Council approved the permit for the festival, which will be held in mid June.
Secondly, was the appointment of Chris Henry as the deputy emergency management coordinator. He would fill in on emergencies if the EM coordinator was not able to. Council unamimously approved the appointment.
Finally, she said it was time to return the $5,000 that Council had previously moved to the street fund from the general fund. Council approved moving the money back to the general fund.
In one last item, council president Phil Hynes noted that rollerblade hockey was being played on the recently renovated tennis courts. He wanted council to think about baning the use of rollerblade hockey on the tennis courts for fear of it causing damage to the new surface. A special coating is need to protect the surface from such ongoing activity. Council decided to look into see what the special protection would cost and discuss at the June meeting.