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Letter: Bellefonte Trail Would Be a Boon to Centre County

on July 27, 2019 4:30 AM

When I hear complaints about the proposed Bellefonte-to-Milesburg bike trail in the name of fiscal responsibility, I wonder if those who complain ever heard the business mantra “You've got to spend money to make money.” No business became prosperous by merely cutting expenses. What brings prosperity is increasing sales and bringing in new customers. And for that you have no SPEND money.

The rail trail in Bellefonte is an example of this. Trails like these bring visitors, who can come from as far as neighboring states. Such visitors do eat, drink, put gas in the tanks in local businesses. Some stay overnight at local hotels/motels/b&bs. Some buy biking or hiking equipment which are more expensive purchases.

Those visitors to the trail bring money into the local economy. Similar trails in Pennsylvania deliver thousands of dollars this way. And of that money, a portion goes to taxes, and is thus available to tend to the needs of the community.

There are other, intangible, benefits. By providing exercise, it keeps the population healthier and thus helps lower medical costs. It also provides families with wholesome entertainment, which has a positive effect on the family dynamics.  

And in the long term, some visitors will at some time, later on, make businesses decisions of where to put a new plant or satellite center. A place that they know and have good memories of might look attractive, when measured against a place they do not know so well, and the decision might come in our favor.

Therefore, I think it is time that we stopped reflexively screaming “fiscal responsibility” and ask ourselves if something is a good investment.

And the trail seems to be a good one.

Adriana Pena
State College

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