Public meeting set for March 4 to discuss old railroad bed in Antis Township

The Antis Township Board of Supervisors have established March 4 as the date it will invite concerned residents to the township building to discuss what can be done with the old railroad bed near the Bellwood Reservoir.
According to board Vice-President Ray Amato, some of the near dozen residents who live in that area have approached the board to inquire about purchasing additional property – which ranges from 30 to 60 feet wide.
“Some of these people just want to extend their property lines a little,” said Amato. “Some of the supervisors here decided it would be best to invite anybody who is concerned with this area of the township to come to the meeting and say what they have to say.”
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 4 at the township building.
Originally, the property was supposed to be used by a local Rails-to-Trails group. Rails-to-Trails is an organization that modifies non-utilized tracks for purposes of public walking, and in some cases, bicycle riding.
But according to Amato, the idea of Rails-to-Trails “fell through.”
“I thought it would have been good for the township,” said Amato. “But it just wasn’t in the cards.”
Now, because the railroad bed leads into a wooded area through state game lands and Altoona water authority property, many people are operating vehicles and ATVs in the area, making it not only a liability to the township, but also a nuisance to residents living there.
“The residents are really concerned about the activity back there,” said Amato. “If they own the property, they would be able to post it “No Trespassing” and hopefully, that would deter some of the traffic.”
In December, supervisors talked of the area at a regular meeting and noted that if someone was injured while on the property, Antis Township could be held liable. The township owns approximately 17 acres there.
Chairman Supervisor Leo Matuszewski said before that residents have approached supervisors and noted that the water authority has its property posted against motorized vehicles and believed it would be a good idea if the supervisors would look into posting its property.
“We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with the property,” said Amato. “The Rails-to-Trails organization is still alive and they might again be interest. Of course the residents living there are interested in what’s going to happen.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait until the meeting and see who comes and who doesn’t.”