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Symbolic Day on Manayunk Towpath

State and city officials cut the ribbon on refurbished trail

The sun brightly shined on Manayunk Thursday morning as Mayor Michael Nutter—wearing his pink bicycle tie—cut the ribbon to reopen the .

Joined by a host of city and state officials, Nutter celebrated the renovation of the Manayunk leg of the .

"We talk about quality of life issues here in Philadelphia, this path really is the kind of thing that were talking about," Nutter said. "These trail improvements help to maintain this neighborhood by increasing the quality of life of its residents and businesses."

Manayunk's City (D-4) thanked officials from the Philadelphia Water Department, Fairmont Park, Pennsylvania Department of Conversation and Natural Resources, the Bicycle Coalition and the Schuylkill Project for their help.

"This river separates (Manayunk) from the pack... This river, as it did in the beginning, connects us to civilization and recreation," Jones said, adding he hopes the renovations bring Manayunk to forefront national as a water destination. "This towpath is a step—and many miles of steps—in the right direction."

Connecting Paths

A key project for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and the , the refurbishment of the bike trail involved paving, clearing and cleaning the path. 

Sarah Stuart is the campaign director for the Bicycle Coalition and lives in Center City. "This is a really treasure for the city and suburbs. There's so many suburbanites and urbanities who bike in and out using the canal, and it's been pretty battered over the years," Stuart said. "It's just been fantastic that it's been repaired."

A score of officials highlighted the ongoing work the city and state have taken up to , get the Manayunk Canal flowing and maintain the flood plain higher up the Schuylkill River. Connecting that river was a big theme.

"It's important because it really marks the ongoing efforts to make this trail continuous from into Center City, out to Valley Forge and beyond," state Rep. Pam DeLissio (D-194) said, adding the refurbishing of the Manayunk Aqueduct Bridge adds more than 2 miles of paths.

Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources Michael DiBerardinis agreed.

"This trail is an important link because we want to connect Philadelphia with Pottsville... It's a great endeavor and speaks to our mayor's ongoing commitment to continue to make Philadelphia not only the greenest city in America, but also one of the most fun cities, as well," he said.

From Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Rob Armstrong said the biggest makeover occurred at the path in Shawmont.

"We redecked the four bridges out there, they were almost gone. We added stone screening there—and here—and widened the paths and repaired the fencing."

Possibly the most instrumental in the update is Schuylkill Project director, Kay Sykora.

"People chose to live here because there is a trail here. And they can go out to Montgomery County or into Center City very easily," she said, recognizing help from Lower Merion Township and volunteers from the city and suburbs.

Check back Friday for info on the towpath and businesses.

Mike Kennedy February 24, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Great story - but you need to get a proof reader. Too many typos!

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