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Springfield balks at Saucon Rail Trail right-of-reversion deal with Septa

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Springfield is not ready to sign off on the Saucon Rail Trail agreement.

Supervisors failed last week to finalize a maintenance deal with the county after Supervisor Tony Matzura raised the possibility of financial liability to the township.

Matzura expressed concern that Septa’s right-of-reversion clause in its lease agreement with municipalities along the line would require the township to restore the rail bed to its original state in the event Septa wanted to reopen the line.

Matzura directed Township Manager Mike Brown to seek clarification.

Joining Matzura in rejecting the agreement were Supervisors Jim Nilsen and Robert Zisko.

About 1.2 miles of the 6.9-mile trail pass through the township, and once it is fully operational, township responsibilities will include routine maintenance such as keeping vegetation in check, removing any debris or trash, and ensuring path signs are visible and in good condition – but who would do that has been an issue.

Speaking last May, Zisko and Matzura raised the possibility of additional police and road crew costs, and Zisko was adamant that park maintenance should not be the road department’s responsibility.

Supervisors have also been resistant to a proposed $800,000 raised boardwalk along a portion of the route that parallels Route 309. The state has insisted there be a boardwalk because the area is classified as wetland, but supervisors contend it has nearly ceased to be one because of all the dirt that has accumulated since work began at the site.

Supervisors are concerned they will be responsible for its partial maintenance down the line, but Brown maintains the county will handle any maintenance over $10,000.

Brown said the agreement would be on the May 28 agenda for reconsideration. Neighboring Richland Township has already approved it.


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