Borough to use mulch on trail

DUNCANSVILLE — Borough consulting engineer Tom Levine recently worked up a plan for replacing a flood-damaged stretch of trail at Duncansville Community Park using asphalt, a job that would require significant excavation, regrading and seeding — and one that would cost $65,000 in liquid fuels funding.

Then Levine did some “soul-searching” — mulling over the potential consequences of another flood along Blair Gap Run, which could undo that costly job and which could occur never, 10 years from now or the day after the work was complete.

So at a Borough Council meeting last week, Levine recommended ignoring his workup in favor of a second thought: rebuilding the 800-foot-long, 8-foot wide damaged stretch with virtually disposable mulch, and using borough workers and equipment. The work would cost little, and if it’s washed out, replacement would be easy and cheap.

Council took the advice.

“I would like to see us go with mulch,” said Council President Jeff Wolfe. That would save the liquid fuels funding for the roads, which are “atrocious,” he said.

The borough has the necessary workers, skid loader and backhoe to place the mulch, Levine said.

“And if the water takes it away, so what?” he said.

A couple council members had concerns.

Jeannette Mills wondered about accessibility and the environmental consequences of mulch washing into the creek.

Mayor Lloyd Forshey wondered about making the trail ready for Duncansville Community Days in July.

While the current crushed limestone and the potential asphalt might be more conducive to wheelchair use, the trail in its current condition is virtually unusable for anyone, Levine indicated.

And while mulch in the creek wouldn’t be ideal, it wouldn’t differ much from the chocolate colored water after any flood event, he said.

Borough management should confer with workers on priorities to ensure the trail repairs are finished before July, he said.

Those workers are continually faced with many tasks, Mills said.

This year’s paving budget is $75,000, which council agreed to spend on Fourth Avenue, starting at 14th Street and heading west as far as the money will take the work.