By David Loomis
INDIANA — Burrell Township, bane to pedalers and pedestrians, recently has been mischaracterized as biblical underdog David fighting Indiana County’s Goliath over a hike-and-bike-path project more than a decade in the planning. But a more fitting characterization of the township and its obstructionist supervisors would be the troll under the bridge in the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Only their own land-development ordinance forced township supervisors finally to approve the proposed local link in a growing nationwide chain of abandoned rail lines repurposed as pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. The township’s proposed link is a $3 million, grant-funded (meaning: no cost to township taxpayers), 150-foot bridge to bear bicyclists and pedestrians safely across busy, multi-lane U.S. Route 22 at Blairsville.
Nearly unanimous official support for the project over the years has included members of a previous Burrell Township board. That early support was reversed when the current board members took office. Since then, they have busied themselves trolling the project.