Jessop Trail and Wisecarver project brainstorm meeting to be held

Tomorrow, the Greene County Commissioners will be hosting a meeting to brainstorm paving and future plans with the Jessop Trail and Wisecarver project. The meeting will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Wisecarver parking lot. Anyone is welcome to attend and bring suggestions. 

Some Waynesburg faculty members will be in attendance to discuss potential ideas for students and volunteers to get involved with. Chris Hardie, Assistant Director of Athletics, Facilities, and Transportation, and the Director of Men’s and Women’s cross country; Stacy Brodak, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and University Relations; Genna Steele, Academic Projects and Grants and Coordinator; and others will be in attendance to explore the trail and plan. In an interview after Thursday’s bimonthly general commissioners meeting, Greene County Commissioners Betsy McClure and Mike Belding discussed the Jessop Trail project with Wisecarver. They both discussed their satisfaction and excitement with the project so far.

McClure explained how the trail is a total of five miles long and will be good for different sports teams. She hopes that the cross country runners from Waynesburg University will use the trail for practices. 

“We’re hoping to expand the trail,” McClure said. “We’re very pleased so far.”

During the commissioners meeting, McClure described the trail and described the progress so far. 

“Just so the community is aware, you can access the trail there now. It is a gravel parking lot, we want to blacktop that parking lot. We are looking in the future to expand that trail,” McClure said. 

McClure also explained the vision of the trail and the different kinds of activities community members can partake in. 

“This is a huge asset to the county,” She stated. “A lot of people, especially with Covid, want to get out. You can walk that trail, you can bike that trail, you can picnic on that trail. We’ve had wedding photos taken on that trail, so I think this is going to be the beginning of expanding and building that trail. I’m excited about it.”

As the commissioners expressed their overall excitement towards the project in their interview, they did acknowledge how the journey has not been without challenges. Belding listed some of the summer obstacles the project faced, such as delays with the parking lot and construction. The commissioners frequently had plans placed on hold as they waited for spending and other tasks to get approved. 

“The only thing slower than a glacier is government,” Belding stated. McClure also touched upon the problem of government slowness. “You may not get a grant for six months,” She said. “You have to be planning ahead.” 

While the government’s speed was pointed out, funding was also included as an issue. 

“We never get the same funding as our neighbors,” McClure said. She explained how funding is based on population, and since Greene County is significantly smaller than other counties, the county receives less funding. “I wish we had more money because I believe we would spend it wisely,” McClure said. Due to Greene County’s rural environment, it is often more expensive to complete projects. McClure mentioned broadband as an example of this.

Since only a few individuals live on a road, it is often more expensive to utilize resources to obtain technology. “It takes us twice as much,” She noted. “You’re always behind. Is it fair?”

Despite the length and obstacles so far, Belding and McClure are hopeful for the outcome and benefits of this project. “It’s been a lot of work,” McClure said. “We feel really good about it.”