KMS Design Group, a landscape architecture and planning firm based in Phoenixville, Chester County, on Thursday presented the final draft of its plan to construct a 14-mile system of trails throughout the township to the Lower Macungie Board of Commissioners.
The BOC unanimously agreed to advertise a September meeting at which township residents will be able comment on the plan before the BOC votes on adopting it.
The plan would stretch across the township, mainly following the Swabia and Little Lehigh creeks. It is designed to accommodate walkers, runners cyclists and -- for the majority of the trails -- people in wheelchairs.
The greenway would be constructed over a period of time -- possibly 10 years -- so that its cost would be less of a burden to taxpayers. If done all at once with all possible "bells and whistles" it would cost up to $21 million.
A more basic version of the greenway plan could be complete for about $9 million, the designers said.
But the township may get its greenway and spend much less money Commissioner James Lancsek explained.
"As development occurs, it's important to have this plan in place. Developers may build parts of this for us. We may never spend a dime," Lancsek said.
The key, he said, is to have the plan in place to show contractors in a development's planning stage.
The general purpose of having a greenway plan is to promote fitness, connect the township, protect resources and reduce flooding, designers said, but not all are convinced.
Township resident Dan Kaczor said he has lived near such areas, and in his experience, not many people use them. Additionally, he wanted to know how much such a plan would raise taxes.
The commissioners deferred Kaczor's questions for the public meetings.