Meadville Tribune

January 4, 2013

County OKs 'Amish-friendly' trailhead proposal

By Konstantine Fekos
Meadville Tribune

SAEGERTOWN — Some travel spots in the area of Spartansburg’s Clear Lake could soon be improved to become more “Amish-friendly.”

Crawford County Commissioners approved a Greenways Block Grant application for minor improvements intended to decrease long-term maintenance and further increasing Amish accessibility at the Clear Lake Authority’s East Branch Trailhead near Route 77 in Spartansburg.

The trail is an attraction for local pedestrians and cyclists as well as a travel route for horse-drawn buggies from the neighboring Amish community

Minor modifications to the trailhead’s rain gardens, parking area and subsequent signage require no more than a modest grant of $2,000, according to Jack Lynch, county commissioner.

“The grant is meant to enhance what’s already there and correct what we think is a small deficiency,” he said, referring specifically to a flat patch of asphalt and earth slowly deteriorating from being plowed and driven over mistakenly.

The Crawford County Planning Commission plans to submit the grant application to the Northwest Commission by Monday on behalf of the Clear Lake Authority.

County commissioners approved the application at their regular meeting Thursday morning.

“It’s a small grant project,” said Amanda Chapel, planning assistant. “There are some rain gardens (the authority) wants to spruce up, along with signage for existing gardens.”

Other planned improvements include reseeding some muddy areas as well as adding gravel to the parking area for Amish buggies.

“It’s been designed to be Amish-friendly,” said Lynch. “The grant will help make the area more user-friendly and provide more effective drainage for the rain gardens.”

 Located in rural northeast Crawford County, Sparta Township has about 1,800 residents, including one of the largest Amish populations-per-township in Crawford County. The number of Amish in Sparta has grown by more than 5 percent since 2000, according to a previous Tribune report on 2010 census numbers. Exact Amish population totals were not immediately available Thursday.

In another lakeside project, Crawford County received an approximate total of $16,375 for zoning training as well as signage and marketing materials for Col. Crawford Park and other amenities around Woodcock Creek Lake Dam, Chapel said.

The Planning Commission reportedly applies for the Greenways Block Grant on a project-by-project basis. No additional project applications for Crawford County are pending at this time, according to the commission.

The Greenway Block Grant is funded cooperatively by the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Fish and Boat Commission, according to the Northwest Commission.



Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kfekos@meadvilletribune.com.