Trolley platform, bridge to fairgrounds may be enlarged

June 18, 2014
Lisa Cessna, director of the Washington County Planning Commission, said she’s applying for a grant of $980,737 to renovate the trolley stop and pedestrian bridge at the Washington County Fairgrounds. The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum offers rides to the fairgrounds for $2. - Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

Those in charge of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Arden like to say that Washington County has the only fair to which one can travel by trolley.

The passenger platform and adjacent bridge may, in future years, be a bit more spacious thanks, in part, to the revenue from natural gas lying beneath county-owned land in the Arden area, including the fairgrounds, health center and trolley museum.

Lisa Cessna, director of the Washington County Planning Commission, said Wednesday she plans to apply for a grant of state taxpayers’s money of $980,737 to be matched from oil and gas revenues from wells which began producing in December.

The project is being proposed in accordance with the recently developed master plan for the fairgrounds.

“The bridge is the bigger part of it,” Trolley Museum Executive Director Scott Becker said of the project. Pedestrian traffic tends to back up on the narrow bridge especially when the fair is closing down for the night. A lane designated for golf carts will allow disabled fairgoers to be transported more quickly.

But Becker also said when fair week comes around in August, the platform is “mobbed.” Enlarging the platform will allow for the construction of a covered kiosk and a stop for two cars in each direction.

The trolley museum plans to offer expanded park-and-ride service to the fair from Saturday, Aug. 9, through Saturday, Aug. 16, from the Eaton Crouse-Hinds parking lot, which many may know as the RCA and Thepitt plants. Between 10 a.m. and midnight, trolleys will run at least every 15 minutes. The fare will be $2 person, while those under age 2 ride at no charge.

Becker noted the McClane Loop trolley platform that serves as the park-and-ride lot with capacity for 400 cars, was renovated in 2012 through a grant from the Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency.

Becker expects trolleys to carry more than 7,000 people to and from the fair. It’s a tradition that goes back to 1913, when the Washington County Fair moved to Arden.

As to that “only fair served by a trolley” claim, Becker refined the comment somewhat, because he said there is a fair in Washington County, Ore., which is served by light rail vehicles. “But I call it a trolley,” Becker said. “It runs out of Portland.”

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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