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New PATH committee forms to help connect with public

Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A new Paul Ambrose Trail for Health committee met for the first time Saturday to discuss its mission of connecting Tri-State residents to PATH and its future developments.

About a dozen people attended the meeting at the Cabell Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau at Heritage Station in downtown Huntington, including Stacy Garrett, a community activist who works on the annual Tour de PATH events. She said she felt there was a growing disconnect between the community and designers of the PATH, becoming more noticeable in recent months as construction started on three sections.

"We felt like the community and citizens need a connection with what's happening with PATH," Garrett said. "We know the Rahall Transportation Institute and the city are doing a lot of things, but sometimes citizens don't know how to help."

Bethany Williams, who works on the PATH project with RTI, said as construction continues in 2013, it is increasingly important to involve community members. Currently, construction is under way on a section under the new 5th Avenue bridge in Guyandotte, behind Harveytown Park and along the floodwall in Huntington's West End.

And while those big sections require professional contractors, Williams said there are smaller sections that could be developed this year by groups of volunteers -- something Friends of PATH can coordinate.

"There are a few different ways PATH is built. The big sections we have to get grants for," Williams said. "But smaller sections ... if we have money in the account, we can go build."

Williams said there also is ongoing discussions with CSX to obtain property railroad property in Guyandotte that includes a rail bridge and extends to Guyandotte Elementary School. It's the type of project, Williams, Garrett and others said, that Friends of PATH could coordinate with community volunteers to work on.

They also want feedback from residents on planned sections of PATH, which are designed for certain sections of the city but have not yet been finalized, allowing for ideas to still be contributed to the final design.

Friends of PATH, they said, also will likely hold events to promote and bring awareness to donations of time and money; produce and disseminate a newsletter; speak at neighborhood meetings; promote pedestrian, bike and motorist education campaigns; and coordinate PATH cleanup events.

Friends of PATH's next meeting will be 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Cabell Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau. In the meantime, those interested in the group can contact Williams at bwilliams@njrati.org or Garrett at Stacy.Garrett.wv@gmail.com.

For more information about PATH, visit http://paulambrosetrail.org.

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