Keeping it 100

February 20, 2019
PEC Blog

100 Communities Support the Circuit Trails!  And PEC Helped!

 

Patrick Starr, Executive VP

Patrick Starr, Executive VP

800 miles of multi-use trails that connect important destinations across nine counties in two states is a big, ambitious idea that is not easy to get one’s arms around. And yet, communities all over Greater Philadelphia are rallying behind it! Most recently, the Burlington County (NJ) Freeholders became the 100th local government body to formally endorse the Circuit Trails vision, adopting a resolution in support of building 500 trail miles by 2025.

100 adopted resolutions is a milestone worth celebrating in its own right. But even more exciting, to me, is the way these actions demonstrate the broad appeal of trails for all types of Pennsylvanians. Focusing on just three of the municipalities with whom PEC has worked, it’s easy to see how support for trails reflects shared values regarding the recreation, transportation, and environmental needs of all communities:

  • Bensalem Township, an ethnically diverse and vibrant community whose 60,000 residents make it PA’s 9th largest municipality, supported the resolution.
  • So did the City of Chester, a historic but economically challenged community which, at 34,000 residents, is Delaware County’s largest city.
  • Upper Dublin Township, a prosperous suburban community of 26,000, passed a resolution too!

As different as they are, each community supported the resolution because trails are important for families and residents to have fun together, to run errands, to exercise, to experience nature, or simply to seek solitude. Sure, some visitors from out of town might also bicycle or walk there, and perhaps spend some money on food and services while they’re at it. But first and foremost, trails make life better for residents.

As these local resolutions show, the demand is real and the enthusiasm is contagious.

PEC was directly involved in obtaining the municipal endorsement in each of the municipalities mentioned above, as well as eleven others, for a total of 14 municipal resolutions.  PEC’s professional staff works actively with these communities on a variety of trails and recreation initiatives, as well as on water quality and other environmental issues (look for more resolutions in the year ahead from some of our other municipal partners in these areas!).

Whatever the challenge, PEC partners with local governments working collaboratively with municipal elected officials and staff to make trails happen. We’re especially good at helping municipalities obtain the financial resources they need to plan and build trails, and we love rallying residents and interested stakeholders to drive projects to completion.

As momentum builds, it’s easy to lose sight of the scale of the challenge still before us: completing the Circuit Trails will be a marathon, not a sprint.  One hundred municipal resolutions is an important milestone, but there are more than 350 municipalities in the Circuit Trails region. The work to educate and engage communities will continue until the system is fully built out. But as these local resolutions show, the demand is real and the enthusiasm is contagious. With the support of so many, PEC will redouble our commitment to build 170 miles of trail by 2025!

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