York County has allocated nearly all of its $369,000 share of the impact fee from natural gas drilling in the state's Marcellus Shale, recently approving a $54,500 donation toward a nature trail in Hanover.
Though there's no drilling in York, the natural gas money is paid to the state by drillers in other counties and must be used for purposes such as park-related and conservation projects.
Vice President Commissioner Doug Hoke said Hanover officials asked for $60,000 of the gas money to construct an 8-foot wide, 900-foot long nature and observation trail in a wooded area off Eisenhower Drive and Eichelberger Street. The project is the first phase of a larger network of trails planned for the area.
Hoke said commissioners decided to donate $54,500, funding half of the $109,000 project, and allow the borough to raise the remaining money.
Borough manager Barbara Krebs said no borough money will be used for the project, but private donors have stepped forward with donations.
Officials are hoping to break ground on the first phase by the end of the year, she said.
The plans: The trail will eventually "loop around" and connect with itself through borough-owned wetlands, providing access to Hanover Mall, the Hampton and Holiday Inn Express hotels, and local restaurants and businesses, she said.
The complete 4,400-foot project is expected to cost about $266,000, she said.
The trail will be accessible by foot and by bike, with a mix of gravel trail surface and boardwalks over some wetland features, Krebs said. Benches and other features will be added.
"It gives a new outlet to the Hanover residents," she said. "I have nothing like this anywhere in town. You can sit and relax, read a magazine, or have a picnic."
-- Gas money: Since being given the money last October, county commissioners have spent all but about $12,000 of the 2012 Marcellus Shale funding. Allocations include:
-- $87,000 to a Heidelberg Township land preservation project.
-- $100,000 to archeological surveys of Native Lands Park in Lower Windsor Township, an unfinished 187-acre property can only be accessed by trail heads and includes the last known village of the Susquehannocks.
-- $40,000 to develop drawings of the Ma & Pa Community Greenway in Red Lion, Dallastown and Yoe.
-- $75,000 toward the Camp Security site in Springettsbury Township, for preservation of the site of a Revolutionary War prisoner camp.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.