Archive for February, 2009

Potential Trail Funding in Stimulus Package

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Although the contentious debates in Washington over the new stimulus package have rendered tangible federal aid an abstract and, skeptics might say, rather dubious prospect, it appears that some of the money might actually turn up close to home. The bill, signed by President Obama on February 17, contains $825 million for “Transportation Enhancements,” the nation’s largest funding source for improvements to pedestrian infrastructure. From a stimulus perspective, walking paths, bike trails, and pedestrian infrastructure in general are excellent places to channel money because these projects are considered “shovel ready” and provide community resources while avoiding competition with private sector productivity. That trails improve quality of life, raise house values, contribute to sustainability, and add millions back into state and local economies is simply icing on the unemployment-reducing cake.

The actual distribution of funds has not yet been determined, but it is likely that eastern Pennsylvania will receive some of the funding. Over the last few months, many trail and planning organizations, including the D&L, submitted lists of shovel-ready projects, in anticipation of stimulus funds. According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, however, the allotment exceeded expectations. It is also might signify a shift in federal “active transportation” funding policies. “[The funding's] place within the stimulus package,” the Conservancy noted, “heralds a transition in thinking among elected leaders who once viewed active transportation projects as niceties and now know them to be necessities for a balanced transportation system and a robust economy.” 

Every cloud has a silver lining…

April Date Announced for St. Michael’s Cemetery Clean Up

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Mark your calendars for the Second Annual St. Michael’s Cemetery Clean Up! It’s still two months away, but you won’t want to miss this great opportunity to help out in the South Bethlehem community.The St. Michael's Cemetery Clean Up is an opportunity to serve the community and preserve a valuable resource (Photo Courtesy of Dana Grubb).

  • St. Michael’s Cemetery Clean Up
    Saturday, April 25, 2009
    9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Please bring: shovels, rakes, clippers, heavy duty buckets, and wheel barrows. Mark the items with your name.
  • Please wear proper shoes. The cemetery is on a hill and has some rough terrain.

Last year dozens of volunteers came out to help preserve this unique South Bethlehem resource. St. Michael’s is important not only to the families who have relatives resting there but to the entire community. This precious open, green space offers beautiful views across Bethlehem to the Kittatiny Ridge and a nice place for a walk. St. Michael’s also helps preserve the cultural history of South Bethlehem, including the rich diversity that waves of immigration brought to the town.Volunteers clear weeds from an historic headstone (Photo courtesy of Dana Grubb).

A devoted corps of individuals maintains the cemetery, but they alone cannot do all of the necessary work. They need your help to cut back weeds, remove litter and plant debris, and help grade the slowly-drifting hillside. Please come out, enjoy the spring weather, and contribute a few hours to a worthy cause.Members of Boy Scout Troop 300 help grade-off a sunken gravesite (Photo Courtesy of Dana Grubb).

The St. Michael’s Cemetery event is part of the national Great American Cleanup campaign, the nation’s largest community improvement program. In 2008, Great American Cleanup volunteers collected 86 million pounds of litter and debris; planted 107,000 trees and 48,000 gardens, xeriscapes, and green spaces; cleaned 144,000 miles of roads, streets and highways; and diverted more than 189 million plastic bottles and more than 1.4 million scrap tires from the waste stream.

The Great American Cleanup lasts for several weeks, during which the D&L will host volunteer opportunities throughout the Corridor. Check back for updates on what the Trail Tenders have planned. For now, add St. Michael’s to your calendar and plan to see us there.St. Michael's offers great views of Bethlehem and points north (photo courtesy of Dana Grubb).

 This year’s St. Michael’s Cemetery Clean Up is a supported by the South Bethlehem Historical Society, the Mayor’s Southside Task Force, the St. Michael’s Preservation Association, and the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.