Lots of Red Tape for Building Waterfront Projects in Pa.

  • Native plants grow along the Susquehanna River in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Photo: Diana Robinson/WITF

August 28, 2015
by Emily Previti | Keystone Crossroads

Antonia Hinnencamp and a few friends are about to start a bike ride on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail. The 6.5-mile paved stretch opened last spring, and Hinnencamp says she’s done it twice since then. She says it’s well worth the 20-minute trip from her hometown in Lancaster for such an ideal setting: flat, shaded, closed to pedestrians.

“I have a friend who comes every morning,” Hinnencamp says. “She rides it every morning, from Lancaster, she drives in. There’s no cars. It’s lovely.”

Hinnencamp’s bike ride begins in Marietta, about half an hour from the state capital, Harrisburg. She’ll turn around in Bainbridge. The trail ends there now, but will ultimately run 14 miles along the Susquehanna River.

Project coordinators say the project will be complete by the end of the year—about two decades after they started working on it. Hinnencamp and others using the trail that night guessed a shorter timeline: a couple of years, 10 at the most.

One thing is clear: when a waterfront is involved in the development, it means more regulators, complexity, money and time. Even for low-impact projects.

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