Author Topic: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session  (Read 28119 times)

Jeepnharleymomma

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Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« on: July 23, 2010, 05:06:29 pm »
Board of Commissioners

Frank J. Sawicki, Chairman
Vinny Clausi
Kurt A. Masser



   County of Northumberland
 
Office of the Commissioners
Administration Center
399 S. Fifth Street
Sunbury, PA 17801

   Administration Center
399 S. 5th Street
Sunbury, PA  17801




Telephone: 570.988.4564
Fax: 570.988.4445





Press Release:
Issued Northumberland County
Commissioners Frank J. Sawicki, Vinny Clausi and Kurt Masser



Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

CONTACT:      Ms. Kathy Jeremiah, Project Coordinator
Northumberland County Planning Department
399 S. Fifth Street
Sunbury, PA 17801
570-988-4295

REGARDING:   Northumberland County Off Highway Vehicle Park Master Plan

Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 6:30 pm, at the Shamokin Area Junior Senior High School Auditorium, 2000 W. State Street, Coal Township, PA 17866.  The County has commissioned a study to develop over 6,000 acres of County owned property to create an Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreational facility.  This meeting is being held to gather public input relative to the development of the facility.

Pat Mack, Director of the Northumberland County Planning Department, said “We want to obtain input from residents of the County regarding the proposed park.  We want their thoughts and ideas on how we can develop a world class off highway vehicle park in the County.  With the development of this park there will be opportunities to create jobs and provide those who come to visit the park with the goods and services they desire.  The economic potential related to the development of the park is unlike anything the County has experienced in recent years.”    Mack goes on to say “We have an opportunity to provide a facility to meet a demand that is not very well met in Pennsylvania.  If we do this right Northumberland County can be regionally and nationally known as the home of one of the best parks and best places in the United States for motorized and non-motorized recreation.”

Kathy Jeremiah, project coordinator for the Northumberland County Planning Department, stated “The park area, which is over 6,000 acres in size, can accommodate a variety of motorized and non-motorized uses, including full size 4x4’s, rock crawling, MX, ATV, and UTV use, mountain biking, equestrian trail riding, hiking, hunting, camping, and environmental interpretation, to name a few.  It is important that the public come to the meeting and share with us their wishes for the park.”

This is the first of two public input sessions being held during the master planning process for the park.  A second follow-up meeting will be held in the Fall.

Commissioner Kurt Masser said “There is a lot of enthusiasm behind this effort and it has the potential to have a significant positive financial impact to the County and its business community.  There are a lot of issues to address, and a lot of planning that needs to take place.  We’ve started that process and this is your opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas.  We encourage you to participate in this process by attending this important meeting.” 

The master plan is being funded with grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.  The plan is being prepared by Pashek Associates, a Landscape Architecture and Community Planning Firm located in Pittsburgh in conjunction with Pennoni Associates of Mechanicsburg.


"Trail Boss" Jenn Watson
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96 Cherokee Sport (Daves beater)
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Jeepnharleymomma

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010, 05:07:04 pm »
I would like to see a group of PA Jeep peeps make it to this!
"Trail Boss" Jenn Watson
89 V8 Yj, some lift, some tires and some extras!
96 Cherokee Sport (Daves beater)
1947 CJ2-A

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly,Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile

MB4/94

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2010, 03:56:50 pm »

This meeting is the best opportunity for people to have direct input into this OHV park project. The County and the engineering firm want to hear from YOU, the people that will be using this facility. They want to build what YOU want and need.

 A lot of you have shown your support in the past by writing  letters of support. Those letters are what pushed this project along to where we are now. The project is in the Master Site Development Plan phase. The MSDP is scheduled to be completed by January 2011. Actual construction could start by next spring/summer.

 This meeting is the only time direct public input will be heard BEFORE the engineering work starts.  The second , and last, public meeting will be some time in the fall . That meeting will unveil all the work completed to that time in preparation to finalize the MSDP.  So now is the time for you to speak up.

 Please come if there is anyway you can possibly make it. Thank you for your support.  Barry
 

Jeremy

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 06:52:48 pm »
I am free so far and could make this trip, anyone else planning on attending for car pool or convoy?
Jeremy Meehan

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2010, 07:39:33 pm »
Lori and I will be going !  Lori is going to pick me up in Harrisburg at work at 3:15. I will not be taking the Jeep (185 miles round trip -:- 7 miles to the gallons = not good)

If there is any questions you want us to ask or input please post them up!!!

M + M Jeep

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 07:54:27 pm »


Unfortunately, I already have a meeting that I have to attend or I'd be there.  >:(


Wayne Fish

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 11:10:28 pm »
Well, with public meetings covering a specific adgenda it's NOT the questions specifically that YOU ask, but the statements, information, and possitive interest that YOU provide.

If attending I would extend to the public of the revenue that their county will receive from those attending said OHV park.
a) Restaurants
b) Hotels/Motels
c) Campgrounds
d) Convenience stores
e) Gas stations
f) Parts stores
g) Department stores
h) Novelty shops

With the wide array of families interested  in such and wanting to be active in a OHV Park the potential for community business developement is HUGE. Those interested/wanting a Park of this nature are not looking to change a community, they are wanting to endure, embrace, enhance, and create further developement of said community for the betterment of everyone.

Just my 2 cents...
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ddechri

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 12:32:49 pm »
Well said Rick.

A positive attitude is just as important as the positive interest. There will undoubtedly be other recreation groups represented. We need to convey the willingness to work with them for the common good rather than stalling the process because no one wants to share.
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Jeremy

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 03:34:53 pm »
Do "WE" as a club want to push our willingness to volunteer help to the betterment of this proposed park?  Assuming "WE" are interested in do so.
Jeremy Meehan

Jeepnharleymomma

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 05:00:26 pm »
We have already been in discussion with Barry about us volunteering at this new park.
"Trail Boss" Jenn Watson
89 V8 Yj, some lift, some tires and some extras!
96 Cherokee Sport (Daves beater)
1947 CJ2-A

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly,Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile

Jeremy

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 10:57:51 pm »
I just got home.  This was a very preliminary meeting.  It was a very full high school auditorium there is also some resistance and skepticism with in  the community proper.  I would encourage a much bigger club attendance for the next couple of meetings IF we want this to happen and IF it happens it becomes something we WANT it to be, NOW is the time to have your opinion heard.  There were lots of attendance that are OTHER than recreational 4 wheeling such as snowmobile, ATV, "sportsman clubs"  and equestrian, the horse back rider in particular want there own area. The ATV club got up and stated that there was 1200 miles of train for snowmobiling but only 260 was open to atvs in the commonwealth.  That there are 0 miles open officially to jeeps right now was NOT mentioned. This is the huge part DCNR is paying very close attention to how this turns out,  If this is a successful venture it may mean opening up more public land to our type of recreation,  again, WE MUST get more involved in this NOW.  We must make  our presence felt at the next public meeting,  I would suggest showing up in our STAFF show shirts as a show of solidarity.

 Most near buy land owners are concerned with trespassing, and noise concerns.  Two locals brought up the dangers of the fact this is old strip mine property and parts of it are still very dangerous especially if it is new to you.  There was one attendant group that wants  make 3900 of the 6000 acres into a "wilderness preserve", (he was not lynched, but the night is young yet, some of the locals ,did NOT like that idea at all.   There was concern locally of "I have been doing blah blah blah activity on that property and so has my father and grandfather before me Why should I pay for it, stop it or do something different now,  why do we have to share this with "outsiders"was also heard.   

The point I made is that this trail system should not just be divided by FORMS of recreation but a lot is driven by the types and duration of the trails in the trail system.  (one of the rules is you could NOT mention a subject that someone else already brought up, this was to keep the meeting moving,  but you where to write down all your concerns and desires on a 5x7 card which would be codified and discussed.  IN other words if you were NOT there your opinion may not be heard.    If you get nothing from this post,  NOW is the time to shiite or get off the pot,  If you want 6000 acres to wheel on get active on this NOW.

Jeremy Meehan

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2010, 01:55:04 am »
Well Jeremy...What you have past on to us is exactally what I had expected.

1) Locals that have been trespassing (cost free) for generations would rise agianst "The Machine" with NO care or concern for public safety or the economic benefits that they too would reap.
2) Conservationalists standing their ground to keep more involvement out.
3) Lack of attendance of those that would bring in considerable involvement...4x4 Vehicles

Yes, the plan is to have it a multi-recreational park. 4x4's - ATV's - Snowmobile - Equestrian - Camping...Yadda, yadda, yadda in order to draw diverse attention.
These ventures are NEVER pretty to an uneducated public (what we REALLY do) or those wanting to continue to venture as "OUTLAWS" creating havoc, safety concerns, and mayhem to all those around them.

You are correct in stateing that the 4x4 enthusiasts MUST show a larger attendance. If I hadn't just come off two weeks vacation I would have attended myself but that means nothing at this point.

What I would like to relay to our readers is this: DO NOT GIVE UP THE PROGECT...This is only one battle that even the County is NOT going to give up on.

Thank you for making your presence available while many of us were forced to be absence with unchangeable plans and passing on the information.
Do Your Duty And History Will Do You Justice...!
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M + M Jeep

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2010, 08:13:16 am »


Jeremy,   Were there any future public meeting dates announced and did you notice many other specific 4x4 clubs there?


Wayne Fish

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2010, 12:22:51 pm »
There were some other clubs and other club members, (some former BMJA officers in fact), some came from as far as 3 hours away maybe even farther.    We were NOT unrepresented.  Honestly, I think it will go through.  There is at least one county official that is against it,  but my feeling is the crowd was guardedly for the park.  We need to get more involved not only to see this through but the fact that DCNR is using this as a "study" for opening up state owned and controlled lands.  We were told that the next meeting and any news would be posted to the counties web site.   http://www.ohv.norrycopa.net/  take notice that the ATV crowd grabbed the spot light,  I for one don't want a new ATV park I want a multiuse JEEP, and atv park.


Below is a news article:

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/4350108

"(Source: The News-Item)trackingBy Justin Strawser, The News-Item, Shamokin, Pa.

July 28--COAL TOWNSHIP -- More than 300 local and out-of-town residents attended the Northumberland County Planning Department's first public meeting Tuesday night regarding the off-highway park with most positive feedback.


http://newsitem.com/

COAL TOWNSHIP - More than 300 local and out-of-town residents attended the Northumberland County Planning Department's first public meeting Tuesday night regarding the off-highway park with most positive feedback.

"This park is an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionize" off-highway activities, said Dave Miller after the presentation at the Shamokin Area Middle-High School auditorium.

Miller is the president of the Lehigh Valley ATV Association, of Allentown, who came to the public meeting to show his support for the county to develop more than 6,000 acres of county-owned property to create the park.

The park would provide responsible recreational opportunities for motorized recreational vehicles, such as 4x4s, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcross and snowmobiles, and for non-motorized purposes, such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting and camping.

The goal of the meeting, said John O. Buerkle Jr., of Pashek Associates - a recreation planning firm hired by the county to create a master plan - was to gather questions, concerns and desires from the public. Each suggestion would be carefully considered and placed into the master plan.

"The master plan is not the means to the end, but a road map leading to the implementation," he said.

Lack of trails

According to Miller, there is a lack of trail-riding opportunities for ATVs in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. There are 2,400 snowmobile trails and 240 ATV trails in the state, and only 10 percent of those trails are in the eastern part of the state.

"We're hungry for additional trail miles," said Miller.

Miller believes that the increase in legal riding opportunities will decrease the illegal riding on public and private property that local police departments are not equipped to address.

Miller also said the coal lands being suggested in Coal Township and Zerbe Township have terrain and trail diversity, natural sites and scenery and geological diversity. It will also provide other opportunities for on-site camping and education centers.

"It will be a fantastic destination for families," he said.

Rather than traveling to other sites, people will be spending money in the local area and would attract riders from out of state, a point driven home by the people who traveled several hours to the meeting.

When Buerkle was done with the presentation, he spent a half hour addressing the concerns of the public. Each person had a minute to express any concerns verbally, or to hand in a note card with questions or suggestions.

Concerns included involving local rider enthusiasts and hunters/fishers in the planning process, the liability of the park, difficulty levels, the cost to the local residents, maintenance of current access points, the protection and preservation of local geological sites, the impact on wildlife and the strain on local police departments.

"It went well," said Buerkle after the meeting. "We had good impact from both sides. We need to make sure these are the right concerns."

The meeting had a large turnout, one of the largest he's ever seen for a public venue, he said.

It proves that "there's a demand not being met," he said.

Not only would the riders' needs be met, it would also provide secondary benefits, including a boost to the local economy through hotels, garages and restaurants.

"When people travel four to five hours, they're not going to stay an hour. They'll spend the weekend," he said.

The sites being considered have the opportunity to become not only a state attraction, but an east coast and possibly a national one as well, explained Buerkle.

Nearly 40 different vehicle clubs on the east coast are following the project as well as a national off-road club in California, he said.

"It's had real exposure even at the initial planning stage," he said.

Not everyone was keen on the county bringing the park to fruition.

"I'm totally against it," said Rich Lahr, of Coal Township, who worked at Fleetwood Enterprises, in Paxinos, for 30 years before it closed down.

He wants the commissioners to focus their attention on bringing larger, more industry-based jobs to the area instead of the current project.

"Is this the best the commissioners can come up with?" he asked.

An ATV rider and an avid hunter and sportsman, Lahr argued that local residents have used the land all their lives and the park project will require them to pay for off-road activities they've enjoyed for free.

"We took it for granted and now they're taking away our freedom," he said.

This was the first of two public input sessions being held during the master planning process of the park. A follow-up meeting will be held in the fall.

The master plan is being funded with grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The plan is being prepared by Pashek Associates, a landscape architecture and community planning firm located in Pittsburgh, in conjunction with Pennoni Associates, Mechanicsburg.




"This park is an unprecedented opportunity to revolutionize" off-highway activities, said Dave Miller after the presentation at the Shamokin Area Middle-High School auditorium.

Miller is the president of the Lehigh Valley ATV Association, of Allentown, who came to the public meeting to show his support for the county to develop more than 6,000 acres of county-owned property to create the park.

The park would provide responsible recreational opportunities for motorized recreational vehicles, such as 4x4s, all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcross and snowmobiles, and for non-motorized purposes, such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting and camping.

The goal of the meeting, said John O. Buerkle Jr., of Pashek Associates -- a recreation planning firm hired by the county to create a master plan -- was to gather questions, concerns and desires from the public. Each suggestion would be carefully considered and placed into the master plan.

"The master plan is not the means to the end, but a road map leading to the implementation," he said.

Lack of trails

According to Miller, there is a lack of trail-riding opportunities for ATVs in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. There are 2,400 snowmobile trails and 240 ATV trails in the state, and only 10 percent of those trails are in the eastern part of the state.

"We're hungry for additional trail miles," said Miller.

Miller believes that the increase in legal riding opportunities will decrease the illegal riding on public and private property that local police departments are not equipped to address.

Miller also said the coal lands being suggested in Coal Township and Zerbe Township have terrain and trail diversity, natural sites and scenery and geological diversity. It will also provide other opportunities for on-site camping and education centers.

"It will be a fantastic destination for families," he said.

Rather than traveling to other sites, people will be spending money in the local area and would attract riders from out of state, a point driven home by the people who traveled several hours to the meeting.

When Buerkle was done with the presentation, he spent a half hour addressing the concerns of the public. Each person had a minute to express any concerns verbally, or to hand in a note card with questions or suggestions.



Concerns included involving local rider enthusiasts and hunters/fishers in the planning process, the liability of the park, difficulty levels, the cost to the local residents, maintenance of current access points, the protection and preservation of local geological sites, the impact on wildlife and the strain on local police departments.

"It went well," said Buerkle after the meeting. "We had good impact from both sides. We need to make sure these are the right concerns."

The meeting had a large turnout, one of the largest he's ever seen for a public venue, he said.

It proves that "there's a demand not being met," he said.

Not only would the riders' needs be met, it would also provide secondary benefits, including a boost to the local economy through hotels, garages and restaurants.

"When people travel four to five hours, they're not going to stay an hour. They'll spend the weekend," he said.

The sites being considered have the opportunity to become not only a state attraction, but an east coast and possibly a national one as well, explained Buerkle.

Nearly 40 different vehicle clubs on the east coast are following the project as well as a national off-road club in California, he said.

"It's had real exposure even at the initial planning stage," he said.

Not everyone was keen on the county bringing the park to fruition.

"I'm totally against it," said Rich Lahr, of Coal Township, who worked at Fleetwood Enterprises, in Paxinos, for 30 years before it closed down.

He wants the commissioners to focus their attention on bringing larger, more industry-based jobs to the area instead of the current project.

"Is this the best the commissioners can come up with?" he asked.

An ATV rider and an avid hunter and sportsman, Lahr argued that local residents have used the land all their lives and the park project will require them to pay for off-road activities they've enjoyed for free.

"We took it for granted and now they're taking away our freedom," he said.

This was the first of two public input sessions being held during the master planning process of the park. A follow-up meeting will be held in the fall.

The master plan is being funded with grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The plan is being prepared by Pashek Associates, a landscape architecture and community planning firm located in Pittsburgh, in conjunction with Pennoni Associates, Mechanicsburg.

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Jeepnharleymomma

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Re: Northumberland County will host a Public Input Session
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2010, 02:02:31 pm »
Thanks Jeremy...I will make plans to attend the next meeting. I will post it as soon as I find out the date. I like the idea of us showing up in our staff shirts!
"Trail Boss" Jenn Watson
89 V8 Yj, some lift, some tires and some extras!
96 Cherokee Sport (Daves beater)
1947 CJ2-A

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly,Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile