HONESDALE—The preliminary stages of an extensive revitalization project have begun to gather momentum within the Wayne County and surrounding communities.
Tentatively dubbed the Honesdale River Project, the program's ultimate goal is to construct a network of walking trails along the Lacawaxen River that branch all the way from Apple Grove and sections near the fair grounds down to Hawley and eventually going even farther.
According to George Brown, one of the coordinators for the project, the projects inception began a few months back as the general musings of Jeff George, local artist with ties to the Cooperage Project, Black Cherrubs, and his own design company.
Brown explained that George had sketched some ideas for “how to utilize the river in town.”
Since then, the project has grow to attract the eyes of numerous community leaders excited to get the project underway.
Brown and George have contacted Mike Wood from Woodland Design and together they got in touch with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to inquire about grant funding to conduct a land feasibility study, the first step in the long road to developing the river banks.
Other parties Brown and George sought advice from so far are the Pennsylvania Rails-To-Trails program and the Wayne County Historical Society.
By current estimation, the Honesdale River Project will need around $80,000 in total to cover the area they wish to augment. Being that the DCNR grant is set up in a as a 50 percent cost share, the River Project will need to generate $40,000—or at the very least have letters of support pledging that amount—by the grant's application deadline on April 12.
To commence discussion and establish and idea of the degree of community support, the project organizers met in the Cooperage on Tuesday afternoon, Jan 31. Present at the meeting were representatives from the Wayne County Public Library, Wayne Memorial Hospital, the Audubon Society, and the Friends of Prompton just to name a few.
Support for the project overflowed from the meeting attendees who eagerly offered suggestions for funding outlets.
By meeting's end, numerous directions were agreed upon with engaging the Wayne County Community Foundation for funding seeming like a strong start to the process.
Moreover, Black and Brass Coffee Roasting Company offered to start the funding with a donation of $1000 to the project and the promise of $2 from every bag of coffee sold until the April deadline going towards the $40,000 goal.
With all the support and excitement, Molly Rodgers, Administrator for the Wayne Library Authority, professed “I think we can raise $40,000 by April.”
The project is still in the very early stages and there is nothing yet set in stone, but the project could use as much community as possible to get things off the ground. Their website is still under construction with Jim Jennings at the helm, and the proper name for the whole enterprise is still being finalized, but interested community members can check out their developments by searching “Honesdale River Project” on Facebook and Instagram.