By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND — The Point Township supervisors reached out to residents during their Tuesday night meeting, asking for input on a difficult decision they soon will have to make — whether to pull $30,000 out of the general fund to match half of a $60,000 feasibility study for a trails project.
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources already has approved a $30,000 grant as half of the cost, but Point Township may not be able to use that money unless it can come up with the other $30,000.
Ann August, who has been trying to find a local granting agency to put up the money, told the supervisors that she has had no luck.
She said the problem in funding things like a trail project is in the feasibility phase. “I can find construction money,” she said. “No one is going to grant us money unless we first have a feasibility study. Degenstein turned us down. Luther Savidge turned us down.”
Therein lies the problem for Point Township, Supervisor Montie Peters said. “I truly believe this is a worthwhile project and would benefit the community, but times are tough. We have a large sewage project that people are going to have to pay for in some way, yet to be determined. So from my own perspective, I can’t in good conscience recommend that we write a check for $30,000 for a feasibility study,” he said.
But Chairman Randy Yoxheimer said, “If we pass up getting $30,000 from DCNR, it may be a long time before they’ll give us another chance. This is a difficult decision, no doubt. And I believe that this trail project could open up great opportunities for the community, for recreation, for commerce along the trail. It could be a great boon to the area. We really need to think about this. And we won’t have much time, once DCNR sends us the contract.”
So Yoxheimer is making an appeal to the community. “While Ann August will continue to look for ways to get that $30,000, we also want to know what our residents think. How do they feel about the trail project? And ultimately, is it worth us paying the $30,000, if we have to, out of our general fund? We have the money, but we want to know what you think.”
Yoxheimer asked residents to email opinions to the township at email@example.com.