NEW BETHLEHEM — The clock is ticking for a local trail organization which is hoping to meet a fundraising challenge before the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
“We’re $1,400 short of our goal right now,” Redbank Valley Trails Association president Sandy Mateer said on Thursday. She explained that two anonymous donors have pledged $7,500 for the trail if another $7,500 can be raised before the end of 2018.
The trail runs from Brookville to the Allegheny River at the village of Redbank, passing through New Bethlehem, Summerville, Hawthorn and other communities along Red Bank Creek. The group also cares for a 9-mile spur that runs from Lawsonham to Sligo.
Mateer said the funding from the December fundraising challenge will be used to refresh portions of the trail.
“We’ll use the money for buying crushed limestone for the trail where it has worn thin,” she said, noting that it costs roughly $5,000 to $7,500 per mile for limestone, and the trail is in need of resurfacing four to five miles.
With this final push to meet the fundraising goal, Mateer said donations can be dropped off Monday at Northwest Savings Bank in New Bethlehem, or made online via PayPal at the group’s website at www.redbankvalleytrails.org. Donations postmarked in 2018 will also qualify for the challenge and can be mailed to: RVTA, 301 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242.
“We appreciate support all through the year,” Mateer added. She said that the volunteer group has many miles of trails to maintain, and while most of the work is performed by unpaid volunteers, fuel, materials and equipment cost money.
Another challenge the group has dealt with recently was with the ice storm in November that brought down approximately 70 trees onto the trail at various locations. Mateer said volunteers have worked to clear the main trail and the Sligo spur.
In addition to the December fundraising challenge, Mateer said there are other ways people can support the trail, including adopting a segment of the trail to care for, as well as donating funds in memory or in honor of a loved one to purchase a single-seat bench ($250), double-seat bench ($500), picnic table ($600), shelter ($7,500) or small bridge ($5,000). Memberships in the trail group are another way to support the group, and cost $10 for individuals, $25 for families and $50 for businesses for one year. Lifetime memberships are available for individuals at $150 and families at $350.