Rush Township wants to create a safe connection between Rush Elementary School and other areas in the village of Hometown.

On Tuesday the board announced an ambitious, $240,000 federally-funded project with the lion's share of the money $204,000 secured through the Northeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Enhancement Funding Program, and the remaining $36,000 match coming from the township general fund.

Specifically, the project, called the Hometown Area Safe Routes to School Project, will upgrade the sidewalks and paths to connect Rush Elementary to Mahanoy Avenue (SR54).

The streets to receive proposed improvements are Meadow Avenue, Oak Lane, Lincoln Drive and Mahanoy Avenue.

The improvements would include upgrades to existing sidewalks, installing additional sidewalks, curbing, crosswalks, detectible warning systems, signage, bike racks, shoulder widening and surface painting.

According to the grant application the project would connect the school to business and residential areas of the township and improve safety.

From start to completion there will be six phases to the project, coordinated through Alfred Benesch and Company, Pottsville.

The first part of the project involves only .4 of a mile in a heavily populated area said to be in need of pedestrian upgrades.

Additional phases would connect the project to the municipal building, shopping, businesses, residential areas, recreational facilities, and two river corridors.

"The opportunity that is presented for connecting in the township is impressive being that both the Lehigh and Schuylkill River Corridors are accessible and can be joined with paths originating in the township," states the application.

"The junction can be made by starting a phase of the path at the Rush Township line along SR54 and following SR54 to SR309 and tying the path into the Schuylkill River Corridor. Not only would it be a step in connecting two river corridors, but also a step in connecting Carbon and Schuylkill County's trail system."

The application states that the project could attract new property owners, not only residential, but commercial and industrial.

The project has been endorsed by state Sen. David G. Argall, R-29, Rep. Jerry P. Knowles, R-124, Jason Boris, executive director, Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission, and Gary Bender, county grant writer.