Newtown Township will receive $873,000 to construct sidewalk connections primarily in the township’s Business Commons area to close existing trail and sidewalk gaps.
The project includes construction of 0.5 mile of five-foot wide concrete sidewalks, stormwater management improvements, construction of ADA curb ramps, improved striping and signage, installation of benches, and landscaping.
The money comes from the PA Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) and was announced by Gov. Wolf on April 21. 2022.
The Newtown Business Commons is home to more than 200 companies, including aeronautical, biomed, biotech, engineering, medical and general office organizations. It also includes a hotel and conference center, the Newtown Post office, and restaurants.
"This project will help the Newtown Business Commons close existing trail and sidewalk gaps and improve pedestrian access while better connecting the Business Commons to the community," said State Senator Steve Santarsiero.
At the March 9, 2022, Board of Supervisors meeting, a resolution was passed to authorize a request for “a Statewide Local Share Assessment grant [see the grant application] of $994,920.00 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to be used for design and construction of the Business Commons Sidewalk Connections project." For background, read "Revitalization of Newtown Township's Business Commons District".
Comments from EDC
"I'm extremely happy to announce that one of our suggestions is coming to fruition in the Business Commons! $873,000 has been allotted for sidewalk and infrastructure improvements in the Business Commons!," said Matt Peters, Chair of the Newtown Economic Development Committee (EDC), which has been working on plans to revitalize the Business Commons (op cit).
Addressing members of the EDC, Peters said "This is all thanks to YOU! This wouldn't have happened if it weren't for YOU all taking the time out of your days & I appreciate you all so much for devoting your valuable time to this noble mission to improve Newtown!"
Connection to Lower Dolington Road Trail
The plan focuses on gaps in existing sidewalks and trails. One notable gap exists between the end of the Lower Dolington Road (LDR) Trail at Yorkshire Drive and Upper Silver Lake Road where the trail was supposed to end in the original proposal. The township did not have enough money to continue the trail as planned (the trail was to cross over to the Hill Haven development side of LDR (see image below). Some residents of Hill Haven told me they were disappointed.
"I’m very excited to see it happening but also a bit disappointed to see that it appears to end at the Woods of Saxony development," said a resident of Devon Rd in the Hill Haven development, which is a neighborhood of 50 families. "As a New Haven resident," said the resident, "I feel strongly that it is unfair that we're the ONLY existing neighborhood on Lower Dolington Road that has been excluded from the current construction plan."
The plan within the grant application includes a short sidewalk on the west side of LDR that would connect with an existing sidewalk that goes further north (see image below). This would solve the problem mentioned by the New Haven resident.
But, Is There Enough Money To Do It All?
The grant award of $873,000 is $121,920 short of $994,920.00, which was originally requested. Thus, either additional money must be found or the plan would need some adjustment; i.e., downsizing. The LDR sidewalk might end up on the cutting floor: the estimated cost of this short sidewalk connection is $76,400, which is a sizable portion of the deficit (see table below).
When Will The Project Be Completed?
The grant application states "Assuming grant funding is awarded in Fall 2022, it is anticipated that design will be complete by the end of 2022, and the project will be ready for public bidding in early 2023. It is estimated construction will start in April 2023 and be completed by July 2023."
Since the funding was just awarded in April 2022, it is hoped that this schedule can be moved up by a few months so that the project can be completed before July 2023.
Posted on 22 Apr 2022, 01:45 - Category: Development