The Cumberland County commissioners are expected to hear details this morning on a $50,000 grant application to boost Newville's economic prospects as a "trail town."
The Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. is seeking the grant from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission for an economic revitalization master plan for Newville. The borough is studying ways to capitalize on the development of the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.
The Cumberland Valley Rail Trail runs 11 miles along a stretch of abandoned rail line from Shippensburg to Newville and was donated to CVRTC by Conrail in 1995. It is available for walking, jogging, bicycling, horseback riding and other nonmotorized recreational uses. The trail, which is wheelchair-accessible, has a crushed limestone surface except for the last half-mile at the Newville trail head, which is paved.
CAEDC first reached out to borough officials, the Big Spring Economic Development Counciland others in November 2013 to discuss the idea of Newville planning for future growth as a trail town.
CAEDC met with residents, business owners and community officials March 27 to discuss the potential for Newville to develop into a “trail town.” Jamie Keener, director of land development for Herbert Rowland & Grubic Inc., also presented to the group using the development of Blakeslee, Pa., as an example.
Located in the Poconos, Blakeslee supports a thriving hiking and camping environment via several related businesses.
"Trail visitors often purchase goods and services along trails," reads a CAEDC project description. "According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy user studies, the Schuylkill River Trail visitor spends an average of $10.04 while using the trail, and the average daily spending of visitors along the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail is $21.62. For the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail visitor, Newville is the ideal location to purchase goods along the trail."
There are two "major problems" the master plan would be used to address, CAEDC said in the project description, the first being the lack of transportation options for visitors to connect from the trail to the commercial center of Newville.
The plan would study ways to add sidewalks, greenways and bike paths to direct visitors to the downtown areas. The second problem is the lack of commercial businesses for visitors to patron.
"The lack of commercial businesses is a problem that needs to be addressed by reviewing current zoning and land uses within the borough as a way to create a more cohesive design that focuses on in-fill development along complete streets connecting visitors to the main commercial center," the description reads.
Tri-County announces grant recipients in the fall.