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County breaks ground on trails project to include Florence Township

The Roebling Museum in Florence Township is set to become a part of a county-wide project.

The Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 30 at Crystal Lake Park in Mansfield Township for the county’s second section of the Delaware River Heritage Trail project.

A portion of the Delaware River Heritage Trail will be a 5.5-mile trail that is planned to connect an existing trail in Fieldsboro to the Roebling Museum in Florence. The trail is also planned to cross Route 130 and travel through Crystal Lake Park, continue through the Village of Hedding to the abandoned Kinkora Railroad line, pass under Route 130 and cross the NJ Transit Rail Line before ending at the Roebling Museum.

In a statement released by the Florence Township municipality, officials expressed their delight in the cooperation with the county to become a part of this project.

“Florence Township and other riverfront communities have been working long and hard with county officials to design a network of trails that highlight the views and wildlife rich environmental areas found along the Delaware River,” Florence officials said. “We are very pleased to report that the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently awarded the contract for the construction of the Delaware River Heritage Trail project in our community and Mansfield Township.

“This portion of the trail will run from Fieldsboro, through the Hedding area in Mansfield Township, along Old York Road, and will cross under Route 130 before entering Florence Township (Roebling) in the back of the former Roebling Steel Mill Complex. The end point for the trail in our community will be a connect to our existing trail located in the new 32-acre park along the Delaware River north of Riverside Avenue in Roebling. This trail connect will be an incredible asset for people wishing to walk, bike, jog, etc.,” officials said.

According to information released by the county, the trail project construction will begin in June and will take approximately one year to complete.

Eventually, county officials said they would like to connect this trail to the Palmyra Cove Nature Center, making the county’s portion of the Delaware River Heritage Trail approximately 30 miles of trails.

Officials said that county residents have free access to 1,000 acres of developed parkland where they can enjoy 39 miles of park trails and more than 11 miles of regional trails. Last year, officials said there there were more than one million visitors to county parks.

The Delaware River Heritage Trail will also be part of the Circuit Trails regional trail network. When complete, the Circuit Trails is planned to be a network of approximate 800 miles of multi-use trails connecting urban, suburban and rural communities in nine counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Circuit Trails Coalition is a collaboration of more than 65 non-profit agencies and foundations working to advance completion of the trail network. Currently, more than 300 miles of trails have been constructed and are open for use through the Circuit Trails network.

In continuous support of Burlington County’s Circuit Trails Coalition, Freeholder Director Tom Pullion announced on Feb. 14 that the board adopted a resolution supporting the coalition and committed to building 18 miles of trails by 2025.

According to the county officials, the trail in Roebling is one of five trail projects that will add more than 18 miles of trails to the regional trail network by 2025. The Kinkora Trail was completed in 2016 and four trail projects are now in various stages of development.

Projects include:

The “Kinkora Trail,” a 3.15-mile trail, completed in 2016 that connects Mansfield Community Park to Springfield Veteran’s Memorial Park.

“Arney’s Mount- Phase I,” a 2.2-mile trail with construction anticipated to start in the Spring of 2019.

“Arney’s Mount- Fairgrounds Connector,” a 3.5-mile trail that will connect the new trail at Arney’s Mount to the County Fairgrounds. Construction could begin as early as 2020.

“Rancocas Creek Greenway- Amico Island Park to Pennington Park,” a 4-mile trail construction anticipated to be complete in 2020.

The Circuit Trails Coalition set a goal to obtain 100 resolutions supporting 500 miles of trails completed by 2025. At the freeholder’s board meeting on Feb. 13, the board’s resolution was officially the 100th resolution in support of the interconnected regional trail system.

Some of the region’s most iconic trails — the Schuylkill River Trail and Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk, the Manayunk Bridge, Cooper River Trail, Pennypack Trail, Chester Valley Trail — are part of more than 300 miles that currently make up the Circuit Trails.

For more information on the Circuit Trails network visit: https://circuittrails.org/.

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