The Biles Island Project to open the northern end of the island for recreational and environmental programming is nearing the start of Phase 1.
The island, which is in the Delaware River near the end of Tyburn Road in Falls Township, is almost one-square mile in diameter and currently owned by Waste Management.
“Back in the spring we approved some money to be spent for looking into the possibility of getting some grant money from the state and we are at a point now that we need to make some decisions about that money coming in and what the next step is,” said Robert Harvie Jr. Chairman of the Falls Township Supervisors.
The project aims to make Biles Island more accessible to the public, and plans to include nature trails, boat access points, fishing piers, swimming/beach areas, and restrooms among other things.
In a presentation Tuesday night, ACT Engineers, from Robbinsville, NJ were on hand to give an update on the project.
“You did authorize us to take a look at the submitted grant applications to [the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources], which we have done, and that application is being reviewed by them,” said ACT Vice President Rob Korkuch. “One thing that we have learned is that due to current funding, the dollars will be at a lower level. It appears that there are other funding sources other than the DCNR, which are viable for this project.”
The construction of the project is estimated to be $1,250,000.
“To date we have identified state funds, we’ve put in a grant application to DCNR and the total management of the project was $390,000,” said Eric Rosina, ACT Project Manager Engineer. “There are also multiple sources of funding at the county level; open space, natural areas, riverfront, they can all be applied to this area in different aspects.”
So far, estimates are that 75% of the funding to design and construct Phase 1 will come from grants.
“What we’ve been led to believe is that the level of funding that DCNR can allocate towards this project is roughly $90,000 to $100,000,” Rosina said. “Obviously those are not hard numbers until the awards are made which is expected in the third or fourth quarter of this year.”
Chairman Harvie said that the Board is not taking any action at this time, but does hope to have an answer in two weeks as to what direction the project will go from here.