Governor Josh Shapiro announces a $52.5 million investment in recreation and conservation projects across Pennsylvania on Oct. 5, on the South Bethlehem Greenway. (Courtesy of Lehigh Valley with Love Media / George Wacker)

Bethlehem receives $500,000 to revitalize trails


Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration announced a $52.5 million investment in over 225 recreation and conservation projects across Pennsylvania — $500,000 of this money will be given to the city of Bethlehem, according to a press release from the administration

The funding was disclosed in South Bethlehem at the Greenway on Oct. 5, and according to the city’s official Instagram account, the intended projects will create “new recreational opportunities, conserve natural resources, and help revitalize local communities.”

This funding is part of Shapiro’s commitment to outdoor recreation and conservation, as detailed in the 2023-24 bipartisan budget.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, “The bipartisan budget Governor Shapiro signed into law invests $112 million to improve state parks and forests, spur economic growth in the outdoor recreation industry and make Pennsylvania the largest state to open an Office of Outdoor Recreation.”

Shapiro said the local projects will help communities like Bethlehem connect trails, improve parks and help Pennsylvania residents enjoy time outdoors, according to the administration’s press release. 

Our local parks and natural spaces are hometown treasures in our neighborhoods,” Shapiro said in the administration’s press release. 

The release states funding will be used to connect the South Bethlehem Greenway to the Saucon Rail Trail — one of the state’s top 10 trail gaps — and create 14 miles of continuous trail in the Lehigh Valley region.

“The South Bethlehem Greenway is a meeting place on the southside where people frequently walk, run, bike, and come together as a community,” Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds said, according to another press release by the Pennsylvania Pressroom. “Investments in recreation and conservation projects of these types are key in improving the city for residents and as a destination for visitors.”

The need for a connection between these two trails was identified by the Pennsylvania Trails Advisory Committee, a Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources-appointed group that advises the Commonwealth about the use of state and federal trail funding. 

“Trails boost quality of life, and the role trails play as connectors is key in increasing Pennsylvania’s economic competitiveness,” said Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, according to the press release.

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