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County Alters Swamp Creek Greenway Plan

A view of Sunrise Mill, the county-owned historic structure on Swamp Creek

ZIEGLERVILLE PA – Montgomery County planners claim they’ve heard and learned from area residents who objected to a preliminary proposal, introduced in January (2017), that would create a “Swamp Creek Greenway” and trail stretching across portions of Lower Frederick, Limerick, and New Hanover townships. Now they’re ready to talk about the proposal again, with changes they say reflect the earlier discussion.

The initial proposal had a potential to draw future recreational traffic to an area a short distance northeast of Lower Pottsgrove.

A second public meeting on the greenway, and a feasibility study for its accompanying “Sunrise Trail,” is scheduled to be held Thursday (March 30) from 6-8 p.m. in the auditorium of Perkiomen Valley Middle School West, 220 Big Rd. The event is free to attend and open to the public.

During the meeting planners and those in attendance intend to discuss “revised priorities and trail alignments based on input from the first public meeting and other public input,” according to a commission promotional brochure. In the first half-hour, from 6-6:30 p.m., the commission will conduct an open house at which maps and other presentation materials will be available for public viewing. A “brief presentation” follows at 6:30 p.m., with remaining “time for public comments,” it added.

Two other future meetings are already scheduled: a presentation of the draft study set for June 15; and of the final study on Oct. 6. Times and locations for those sessions have not yet been announced.

The county owns a 200-acre parcel that follows Swamp Creek, bordered by Swamp Creek Road at the north; Grebe and Yerger roads at the south, and divided through the middle by Neiffer Road. It is the home of Sunrise Mill, a grist and sawmill built in 1767, also owned by the county but not currently open to the public. The mill, if eventually refurbished, and its surroundings were initially envisioned as a trail centerpiece when presented during January in three different scenarios.

Some affected property owners complained publicly they were given either inadequate advance notice, or none at all, about the January session. Others worried the plans would involve a county effort to seize portions of their properties; that notion met with strong opposition from the Lower Frederick Township Board of Supervisors. Township Police Chief Paul Maxey also suggested a creek-side trail might create problems for law enforcement.

Photo from the county Planning Commission

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