Whitehall’s mayor and board of commissioners accepted a resolution to move ahead with a grant for the Jordan Creek and Greenway Trail at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The three-quarter mile trail will stretch across Whitehall and will include a pedestrian bridge over Jordan Creek by Mallard Drive.
The grant, called Safetea-Lu Funds, is part of an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Several other townships will be asked to accept grants for their sections of the trail so that it can eventually go from Allentown to the Lehigh Valley Zoo and to Blue Mountain.
The greenway and trail will provide a physical connection to five existing parks and recreation areas, according to a Wildlands Conservancy pamphlet about the proposed project.
“Trails are by far the number one park offering to residents and visitors,” said Mayor Edward Hozza, Jr.
Trails can offer walking, jogging, roller blading and biking. Similar trails have the highest rate of usage in Whitehall, above their three outdoor pools and traditional fields.
Hozza likened this Jordan Creek Trail project to the Ironton Rail-Trail because the IRT is a true example of an inter-municipal trail.
The Jordan Creek Trail will include the support of, if fully completed, the City of Allentown, Heidelberg, Lowhill, Lynn, North Whitehall, South Whitehall, Upper Macungie, Washington, Weisenberg and Whitehall townships.
Each of these cities and townships will need to approve their individual grants and portions of the trail.
The trail will offer alternative routes between the various involved towns, cities and townships for bikers and walkers.
Hozza noted that some people could use the trail to get to and from work on bike or on foot with ease.
Another possible benefit: property values traditionally increase along trails, according to the mayor.
One section of the trail was already paved about two years ago and stretched westward from Mickley Road to Scherersville Road over park lands.
Whitehall’s grant is for $444,600. The project will be completed at no cost to the township.
The Wildlands Conservancy is leading the entire Jordan Creek and Greenway Trail project. Spotts, Stevens and McCoy are the engineers.
Whitehall won the grant after going through a competitive bidding process where 10 grants were given in the Lehigh Valley.
Bids will likely open in October 2014 for a general contractor for the project. A completion date for the Whitehall portion of the trail is projected to be spring 2015.