Somerset County has picked up land near Berlin to develop another section of the fledgling September 11 National Memorial Trail.
In a 2-0 vote, Somerset County Commissioners voted to buy nearly 6.7 acres of land from Somerset County resident James Croner – the first of three remaining property acquisitions needed to develop a continuous path from Garrett to Berlin Borough.
“This is one of the bigger properties ... needed to get to Berlin,” said Somerset County Parks and Trails Director Lindsay Pyle, who is currently spearheading the county’s effort to extend the 9/11 trail north from the Great Allegheny Passage at Garrett along a former railroad bed to Berlin.
CSX Railroad has already donated 12 miles of rail bed right-of-way needed to enable that effort to get underway – initially through the development of approximately 1.5 miles of new trail this year.
Pyle said the Croner property acquisition will eventually enable the county to continue that progress in Brothersvalley Township by adding trail along another stretch of former rail bed southwest of Berlin.
The nearly 6.7-acre property is a mix of farm and woodland southwest of Berlin and east of Route 219, she said.
As envisioned, the September 11 National Memorial Trail will travel 1,300 miles of the mid-Atlantic, connecting the Flight 93 National Memorial to 9/11 sites at the Pentagon and New York City.
Trail advocates say the trail will serve as an economic driver for communities along the path – Johnstown, Windber and Berlin, among them.
Local officials in both Cambria and Somerset counties are working to extend trail miles throughout the corridor, by adding new trails and extending current ones, such as the Path of the Flood Trail in Greater Johnstown.
In Somerset County, work is expected to begin later this year on the first 1.4-mile extension of the trail through Garrett, Pyle has said.
The Berlin area section that would travel through the Croner property is approximately 6 miles further north, she said.
Somerset’s commissioners voted to pay $28,000 in county funds for the property.
Commissioners Gerald Walker and Pamela Tokar-Ickes approved the move. Fellow Commissioner Colleen Dawson was absent from the Tuesday meeting.
In other county moves Tuesday:
• Somerset County officials approved a $252,199 payment to the Cambria Somerset Authority, an annual move to assist with the authority’s bond issue.
Cambria County also pays annually toward the bond issue.
• The county approved a resolution supporting an effort to rename a Meyersdale area bridge after military veteran Harry Beale, an original member of the Navy Seals.