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Proposed Loop Trail Q's and A's
What is the loop trail?
The plan for the trail was conceived in 1984 and has been developed by the Open Space, Environmental and Recreation Committees. The goal was to would unite various neighborhoods and to allow our residents to walk or jog throughout the Borough by connecting already existing trails and walkways.
How Will the Trail Be Developed and Implemented?
With help of grants from ANJEC (Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions) and the Dodge Foundation in 2010, funding was available for the development of a more detailed plan for the trail; and through the efforts of members of the previously mentioned committees, a proposed plan has been drafted and is available to the public at the Borough offices during business hours.
Approximately 85% of the proposed loop already exists. It includes Patriot’s Path, existing Borough properties or rights of way and public sidewalks. The vast majority of the path will remain in its current state. Some improvements with gravel, mulch, etc will be necessary in marshy areas. The only significant required improvements include creating a sidewalk along Hilltop Road that will connect the Heather Hill neighborhood to Hilltop School. No paving of existing trails is contemplated and natural surfaces will be used wherever possible.
How Much Will the Project Cost?
As part of the planning grant already received preliminary cost estimates are being produced, and will be available later this year. It is not anticipated that the entire project will be completed in one effort. Rather, various sections will be improved as funds become available.
How Will The Project Be Funded?
The trail will be funded primarily through grants from county, state or federal funds designated for this purpose and through private foundations such as the Dodge Foundation. In cases where there may be a need for matching funds, it may be possible to fulfill that requirement through “in-kind” labor from the DPW or through our salaried professionals. In addition, funds already on deposit with the Borough’s Open Space account may be used to match grant monies. In each case, the Borough Council must approve grant applications, the use of matching funds or other expenditures.
Will My Taxes Increase as a Result of this Project?
No. The Borough has no budgeted expenditures for the trail at this time, and none is included in the 2011 budget. Since no funding comes from the general tax revenues, it will not impact your property taxes.
How Much Will the Loop Trail Cost to Maintain?
The existing Patriots Path and Schiff links are maintained by the county and Schiff, respectively. And additional maintenance would be the responsibility of the Borough and it would be performed by the current staff. Only a minimal amount of additional maintenance is anticipated, and it would include clearing brush to trail height and width tolerances, and maintenance of signs and bridges.
Does the Borough’s Liability Insurance Cover the Path?
Yes, the insurance would be the same as with any Borough facility or program, and the trail will be will be insured at no additional premium to the Borough.
What safety plans exist for the trail?
It is anticipated that there will be a minimal amount of additional signage, and grading will be performed where needed. In addition, surfaces that may be slick or muddy may have gravel or mulch added. Except for maintenance or emergency reasons, no motorized vehicles will be allowed, and bollards may be installed to prevent unauthorized motor vehicles from entering. All trails will be designated as multi-use, providing opportunities for both pedestrians and bicyclists.
Would any other infrastructure be required?
There are no plans for any additional infrastructure, nor is it anticipated that it will be needed in the future.
What is the Project Schedule?
Except for the current planning stage, there is no project schedule as there are no additional funds to make improvements. The future schedule will be dependent on obtaining project funding.
Where can I find more Information about the Trail?
The Borough web site will be periodically updated, and new developments will be reported in the Mendham Messenger.