Two weeks after the initial presentation to Go Green Galloway, Galloway Township Councilman Tony Coppola brought the discussion about before the council at its meeting Tuesday night, Sept. 27.
The open space is located on Route 9, and is owned by Atlantic County.
“It will preserve the integrity of the pristine forest there,” Coppola said.
Coppola and Councilman Dennis Kleiner presented the plan to Go Green Galloway at its meeting Sept. 14. Kleiner was absent from Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The plan calls for one paved trail and one single track cut through the woods in a 2.7-mile loop for the area. The paved trail would be for families and beginners, while the other would benefit more experienced riders who are looking to ride on a more technical trail. Access to the trail would come off Jimmie Leeds Road.
The nearest such trails currently exist in Estell Manor.
The idea has been pitched as a means of making Galloway Township a “biking destination,” with low impact to the environment.
“There would be no lights. It would be closed at night,” Coppola said, adding there would be a parking lot in place to accommodate 40 cars.
A parking lot was a sticking point for residents when a park was proposed for that area five years ago.
“I like the bike path. It’s a great idea. Five years ago, we had the same thing,” resident Rich Price said to council during the public comments portion of the meeting. “They presented the whole package: how to pay for it, what to do, and the residents didn’t want it because of the parking lot.”
Coppola pointed out that the open space label leaves the area open for development of a sporting complex in that same area, which would have a larger impact on the environment.
“The alternative is to have a football or baseball field in that spot,” Coppola said. “Who knows how many cars that would bring in? With this, you have 40 cars, but if you can keep the integrity of the pristine forest that’s there, I can handle that.”
“It could get the joysticks out of the kids’ hands and put them back on the right track,” Deputy Mayor Don Purdy said. “It’s a bike path, but I think it could be used as a jogging path also.”
Moving forward, the proposal must be brought before the county’s open space sub-committee for approval. The project calls for the county to continue to own the property.
Purdy recognized the importance of keeping the residents involved in the process.
“We should put it up on GTV and let the residents know what’s happening,” Purdy said. “It would be neat if this brings people into the area, but keep in mind, the county needs to operate it.”