Wellsboro trailway project on its way after 13 years of upset neighbors

WELLSBORO, P.A. - Construction has begun on a trailway that will connect Downtown Wellsboro to the Pine Creek Rail Trail, after thirteen years of anticipation.

Grant Cavanaugh is now the co-chairman of Tioga County Trail Authority but thirteen years ago he was just a concerned neighbor.

Cavanaugh and his neighbors live in front of the Tioga Central Railway, with creeks running along its side.

Every time it rained, the neighbors were concerned about potential flooding.

"Watching the erosion, watching to make sure the railroad bridge did not wash out," Cavanaugh said. "Just watching to make sure the waters did not leave the East side of the railroad and come into the neighborhood on the West side."

The area has experienced heavy rainfall that put neighbors at fear.

"At times of high water, the water on the side of the railroad was more than 4 ft higher than our back lawns." Cavanaugh said. 

Cavanaugh reached out to Jim Weaver, who was the County Planner at the time. Together they hatched a plan, which would involve a three mile hiking and biking trail.

The trail would run from Charleston street in Downtown Wellsboro and tie into the Pine Creek Rail Trail. The trailway would be placed between the railroad and creek. Large rocks on the sides of the trail would derail the erosion.

Weaver says it was a win-win because the trailway would prevent neighbors homes from flooding, it would stop the railroad from being washed away, and it would also give people a recreational place for biking and hiking.

"People in town can now get their bicycle or just walk out their back door and go for a walk," Cavanaugh said.

After thirteen years of planning, Cavanaugh says it is exciting and emotional to watch his plans turn into a reality. Most of that emotion is because many of his neighbors have since past, but Cavanaugh says he knows they would be proud.

The project is expected to be completed in 3-5 years and is costing roughly $5 million from Federal and State funds.

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