ARed Lion-area greenway is one of a few trail plans
proposed countywide as communities work to fulfill a vision for a large network of recreational paths. But organizers are in for a long ride until the walking and biking trails can open to the public.
After years of planning, even more planning will soon be under way for a 3.3-mile trail that would include parts of Red Lion, Dallastown, Yoe and York Township.
The York County Commissioners recently voted to give organizers the $40,000 needed to develop drawings of the project.
The Y-shaped Ma & Pa Community Greenway would start at Red Lion's historic Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad train station and incorporate part of the Red Lion Mile before heading west, splitting near Maple Street in Red Lion and creating two branches: one to Dallastown and one to Yoe.
Along the proposed route are the former Red Lion jail building and an observation deck at Taylor's Trestle, an old railroad spot, which is near the split.
The money, a portion of the county's share of an impact fee paid by natural gas drillers in the state's Marcellus Shale, will pay for an engineer to develop a master plan for the gravel path, said Dianne Price, Red Lion borough manager.
Organizers from the four-municipality planning group need surveys and construction documents for the trail, which would run through public land and streets with the exception of six parcels along Springwood Road in York Township, Price said. Each municipality would own a piece of the trail.
Bigger vision: The municipal partners completed a greenway feasibility study along the former rail corridor from York to Felton. The section chosen for the plan was selected as a "realistic portion of trail" to complete because of the dense population along it, but the trail could be extended to Spring Garden Township and Felton in future years, Price said.
Gwen Loose, executive director of the York County Rail Trail
Authority, said her organization has looked at the Ma & Pa Community Greenway study "with extreme interest."
The trail fits the York County Trail Plan's vision for networks of trails that connect communities and offer recreational space, she said.
Such trails can be used for daily trips that residents would typically make in a vehicle, she said.
Over several years, the tributaries could feed into other trails, such as the York County Heritage Rail Trail, which is also being extended, she said.
"We've always had this grand vision for York County that the Heritage Rail Trail provide the north-south spine and other communities look at possible connectors," she said.
For example, she said, Hellam Township and Hallam are also undergoing studies for possible trail development, and four miles of the Hanover Trolley Trail, connecting York to Hanover, have been developed.
Loose said there's huge potential for the trail system, but residents need to understand the planning takes years.
"And sometimes it can become discouraging on behalf of the residents," she said.
It took nine years to build the Heritage Rail Trail, she said, after the authority was formed in 1990.
Red Lion: The Ma & Pa route to Yoe would travel along Springwood Road and end at a parking area at East Water and North Church streets. In Dallastown, the trail would end at a lot at East Maple and North Walnut streets.
Price said it's too early to tell when construction could start, as plans have been in the works for several years. It could be years, she said.
An early estimate showed the cost including trailheads would be around $1.7 million, divided between the municipalities, but that number is several years old, Price said.
She said the trail would be a great benefit to the community, both for the recreational and fitness opportunities and the traffic it could bring to downtown businesses and historic places.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.