ELMHURST TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A walking trail that's been stuck in the planning stages for almost 20 years is finally set to be developed, thanks to a highway project in the same area.
When you ride the grinding wheels of government, sometimes it's faster to walk. A group of officials gathered on what will soon be a new trailhead in Elmhurst Township for a groundbreaking that's been a long time coming.
"We had a few right turns and left turns, but today is a wonderful, wonderful day for our area, for our club, and for everybody here," said Joan Foytack, North Pocono Rotary Club.
The ground was broken for the North Pocono Trail, a project that's been in the works for almost 20 years. Members of the North Pocono Rotary Club drew up the plans in 2006 for four miles of trail following the banks of Roaring Brook.
"When you look at the map and what it says, who has what in the area, we're sort of a blank space when you look at that those maps, you know, that they send out. I thought that maybe this would be a big draw for people to come to. We're just so happy today, it's unbelievable," Foytack said.
The trail is possible because of work planned on part of the interstate that runs through Elmhurst Township. PennDOT needs to use Lackawanna County property to do work on Interstate 380, so the state is offering the county $1 million to get work on the trail done.
The organizers aren't discouraged by how long it took to get to this groundbreaking. They're already planning to connect this trail to others in Lackawanna County.
"That's what trails are about -- connectivity. Eventually, this trail will go down into Dunmore, hopefully into Scranton, and tie in with the Heritage Valley trails," said Marc Gaughan, North Pocono Trails Association.
For now, the North Pocono Trail will start along Old State Road in Elmhurst Township.
"I know myself, if I'm traveling to New York or New Jersey to hike, you know, you stop for gas, you stop to eat, sometimes you stay the night. It is an economic impact in a community and it's a quality of life issue, too. It makes it a better place to live. We're a little behind on it, but coming along quickly, I'd say," Gaughan said.
County officials expect work on the new trail to begin in the spring.