District Authorizes ‘Falcon Trail’ at Middle School

Upper Pottsgrove’s master plan for Hollenbach Park (at top) envisions a wide range of future amenities. The “Falcon Trail,” in yellow (below) is expected to help pedestrians reach it easily and safely

District Authorizes ‘Falcon Trail’ at Middle School

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Construction of a stone-covered walking trail that will cross the Pottsgrove Middle School campus, 1351 N. Hanover St., and is intended to provide safe access for pedestrian users of Upper Pottsgrove Township’s nearby Hollenbach Park, was authorized Tuesday (Jan. 24, 2023) in a unanimous vote of the Pottsgrove school board.

The cost of building what is labeled as the “Falcon Trail” (enlarged at right) is being fully paid by a $12,500 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, representatives of the Pottstown Area Regional Recreation Committee explained during the board meeting.

The trail will be installed by the township, which also will provide signage. The school district’s responsibility, they added, will be trail maintenance and upkeep.

The project offers added value in four ways, district Superintendent Dr. David Finnerty said:

  • It will start within the Coddington View housing community off Farmington Avenue, giving its residents an easy and direct way to reach the park by foot rather than by car;
  • It will run along the south side of the Middle School property driveway and down its steep hill to North Hanover Street, keeping walkers out of the driveway and avoiding its two-way traffic;
  • Its design includes an area on North Hanover where walkers, including those from Middle School sports teams, can gather and then safely cross to the park, its fields, and current and future amenities under its master plan (at top); and
  • It continues cooperative efforts between the district and the township.

Secretary Ashley Custer expressed concern about the crosswalk at North Hanover, where she said traffic speeds tend to increase. Its design takes that into consideration, directors heard. “We currently do have middle schoolers crossing that road to participate in activities at Hollenbach Park as it exists now,” Finnerty noted. The district believes the proposed 1,300-foot Falcon Trail and its crosswalk “would be an improvement to that,” he said.

Board member Patti Grimm suggested exploring the addition of a future speed bump to slow traffic in both directions on North Hanover ahead of the crosswalk.

President Al Leach asked about personal liability issues, which the district solicitor said would be covered by its insurance. Directors also briefly discussed the possibility of closing the trail during winter months, when plowing could be difficult.

The trail proposal “has changed a number of times over this past year,” the superintendent acknowledged, but as a result it now satisfies the needs of both the district and township, and stays within budget.

Construction will get under way at the district’s convenience, possibly during the summer when classes are not in session. The board’s approval is contingent upon reaching an agreement between the township and district that specifies construction details and other items, Finnerty said.

Both the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation and the TriCounty Community Network were instrumental in securing the grant funding and assisting in project planning, according to the committee.

Drawings of the Hollenbach Park master plan provided by Upper Pottsgrove Township

Other coverage of the Pottsgrove school board Jan. 24 meeting:

District Authorizes ‘Falcon Trail’ at Middle School
Pottsgrove Middle School will be the future setting for the “Falcon Trail,” a 1,200-foot walkway that is expected to provide easy and direct access to students and Coddington View residents to nearby Hollenbach Park.

Incoming Teachers Pair With Mentors for 2023
Pottsgrove school board members this month, as they have during many previous years, approved the pairing of newly arrived educators with district veterans. The goal is to help newcomers feel comfortable and grow in their jobs.

Pottsgrove Directors Appoint Business Administrator
Newly appointed Pottsgrove School District Business Administrator Deborah Klahold was welcomed with applause Tuesday, as the school board introduced her as its chief financial executive.

PCTV Live-Streamed Pottsgrove’s Jan. 24 Meeting
The Tuesday (Jan. 24, 2023) meeting of the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ meeting was live-streamed by Pottstown Community Television, and then archived on YouTube.