The federal government is providing a grant to help finish a long-running Schuylkill River Trail expansion project, to the tune of $12 million.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, will help connect the trail between Christian and 34th streets, bridging the gap between the Schuylkill River Trail and the nearby Gray’s Ferry Crescent trail, according to a statement from U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, who secured the grant and announced the news last week.
Casey called the project an investment—not only for the city’s health, but its economy as well.
“Providing a safe and sustainable way for residents to commute and enjoy the city not only makes it attractive for newcomers but also for businesses,” he said in the statement.
The grant is classified as a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, and is part of $500 million, which the Department of Transportation pledged this month to 41 infrastructure projects across the country.
While the TIGER grant will not cover the entirety of the project to connect the Schuylkill River Trail to the Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail, it will take a significant chunk out of the overall costs, which are expected to be around $36 million, the statement said. The remaining funding has been pledged by the city, the commonwealth and the William Penn Foundation.
The Gray’s Ferry Crescent phase is part of a larger, longtime plan to expand the Schuylkill River Trail southward. Schuylkill Banks announced the most recent big step forward in January, when they officially opened a 1,400-foot section of the trail between South and Christian Streets to trail users. The official dedication ceremony for that stretch will be in the spring.
Schuylkill Banks thanked Casey and Toomey for securing the grant in a statement last week, calling the stretch between Christian Street and the Crescent Connection, “the last and most difficult gap in the SRT.”
The project is still being designed, but construction will likely begin in 2020, PhillyVoice reported.