On May 10, representatives from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), and Department of Transportation (PennDOT) joined the Lackawanna Heritage Valley and local leaders for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Carbondale Riverwalk, a new 1.5-mile trail that closes a critical gap in the 70-mile Lackawanna River Heritage Trail (LRHT) system.
“Recreational assets like the Carbondale Riverwalk and Lackawanna River Heritage Trail can be economic engines for communities and drive small-business development, as visitors come to the community for the trail and patronize local shops and restaurants,” said DCED Executive Deputy Secretary Scott Dunkelberger. “Any time you can mix true economic development with exciting new recreational opportunities for the community, it’s a big win for the region. That’s why Governor Wolf is so committed to supporting community projects like this.”
The Carbondale Riverwalk runs parallel to the abandoned O&W Railroad, and on the opposite side of the Lackawanna River. The trail will link the LRHT to the D&H Rail-Trail at the Morse Avenue Trailhead in Simpson. Proceeding south, the trail travels along the industrial park in Carbondale, crossing the Lackawanna River on a rehabilitated railroad trestle, continuing to the John Street trailhead, and then connecting to the Main Street Carbondale business district. This section creates a vital connection between the on-street portions of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail in Carbondale, to the D&H Rail-Trail extension in Simpson.
“We’re ecstatic to see the completion of this section of the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, which is part of the 70-mile Lackawanna Greenway,” said DCNR Deputy Secretary for Conservation and Technical Services Lauren Imgrund. “DCNR’s trail priority is a trail within 15 minutes of every Pennsylvanian and the completion of our major greenways serves as the foundation for achieving this goal. Close-to-home trails lead to more outdoor recreation and the related benefits of improved physical and mental health.”
The Lackawanna Heritage Valley is developing this trail not only for recreation and transportation, but also to highlight the historic and cultural significance of the region.
The project received $214,500 in funding through DCED’s Greenways, Trails and Recreation program; $467,500 through DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program; and $611,075 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program awards from PennDOT and the Lackawanna-Luzerne Transportation Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“Lackawanna Heritage Valley is grateful for our continued partnership with DCED, DCNR, and PennDOT in constructing the Carbondale Riverwalk,” said Joseph J. Corcoran, executive director of Lackawanna Heritage Valley. “The project closes a significant 1.5 mile gap in the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, and the state provided the much-needed matching funds for building this wonderful community asset.”