Lower Merion officials on Wednesday night authorized spending $250,000 in township funds toward the $2.7 million renovation of the Manayunk Bridge as a trail connector for hikers and bikers.
Officials previously discussed putting up $500,000 to obtain a grant of the same amount, but Assistant Director of Building and Planning Chris Leswing said an available county grant would make that amount of township contribution unnecessary. He recommended the township contribute between $250,000 and $300,000, strongly recommending the latter.
But Lower Merion Board of Commissioners President Liz Rogan said that she would prefer to have a unanimous vote on the $250,000 contribution rather than a split vote on the $300,000.
Several members of the Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail group, along with state Rep. Pam DeLissio, former state Rep. Lita Cohen and former Lower Merion board president Bruce Reed were on hand to speak in favor of the township contribution.
The revised budget gap for the $2.7 million project is $1.4 million, Leswing said Wednesday night.
To address that gap, in addition to the DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) grant (up to $500,000) the township is applying for, the township can also leverage the same match ($250,000) toward a Montgomery County CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) program grant ($1 million) later this year. That grant aims to take cars off the road.
The motion to recommend to the full board the $250,000 township contribution passed 13-0; Commissioner Lew Gould was not present at the meeting. The full board approved the contribution later Wednesday night.