CUMBERLAND — Plans for the $3.3 million Buck Creek Trail in northern Hancock County are a step closer to becoming a reality.
Cumberland town officials have mapped out the three-mile path and are in the process of acquiring land needed to build the trail, plans for which have been on the books for nearly a decade but pushed back as the town focused on other projects. Construction is slated to start in 2017.
“It’s a project that had been kind of on hold for a while, but we are heavy into it now,” town manager Andrew Klinger said.
The Buck Creek Trail will connect to the Pennsy Trail just east of Carroll Road on the south side of U.S. 40. It will follow Buck Creek to Buck Creek Road, ending just short of Interstate 70, town officials said.
The trail will run through several subdivisions, including Cumberland Heights, Glen Oaks Village, Cumberland Falls, Buck Creek Meadows and Lions Park.
A federal grant will cover 80 percent of the project cost, and the town of Cumberland will foot an estimated $660,000.
Preliminary engineering plans are complete, and town officials are working with landowners to acquire property where the trail is expected to be placed. They hope to complete those negotiations by the end of the year.
Some community members with land along the proposed trail have offered to donate portions of their land to the project, but the town will have to purchase others.
Council member Anna Pea lives in Glen Oaks Village and said she plans to donate an estimated 1.89 acres behind her home.
She said she’s happy to donate her land and hopes others will follow suit.
“They could then write that off on their taxes,” Pea said.
Christine Owens, director of planning and development for the town and project manager, said community members are looking forward to having the trail constructed.
They’ll be able to use the 12-foot-wide path for running, walking and biking.
Officials hope to hire a construction company to build the trail by fall of 2016, and constructionis expected to begin during spring of 2017.
Officials said they are thrilled to see the project, which has been on the table for nearly 10 years, moving forward.
“Wherever you put in trails, it increases the value of that area, and that is what we are hoping for here,” Klinger said.