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Schuylkill Banks boardwalk opening soon

Runners, cyclists and others who use the Schuylkill River trail will soon be able to extend their routes along the river.

The Schuylkill Banks boardwalk, which extends the river trail from Locust Street to the South Street Bridge, is slated to open in early October.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for the morning of Oct. 2, according to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation.

Speakers are to include Mayor Michael Nutter, Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler and Gerard Sweeney, the corporation's chairman.

Officials are also planning a community celebration for the newly opened boardwalk the following Sunday, Oct. 5.

Those interested in taking a run or stroll on the boardwalk before it opens to the public can sign up for a pre-opening event the evening of Oct. 1. The run, walk and party cost $20 and space is limited.

Organizers say the event "will run rain or shine, since the Boardwalk will open on October 2 regardless of weather conditions."

Trail users have been eagerly awaiting the 2,000-foot extension of the river path. The 15-foot-wide boardwalk will connect to the South Street Bridge through a 460-foot, ADA-accessible ramp.

The boardwalk is part of a larger initiative to create a continuous trail along the Schuylkill from Pottsville to Southwest Philadelphia.

There are now more than 60 miles of finished paved trail, according to the Schuylkill River Trail Association, with fully completed path expected to span nearly 130 miles.

A number of other projects to enhance trail networks throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey are also in the works, with planners hoping for an eventual 750-mile network of paths. New multi-use trail sections opened along the Delaware River and in Chester County last year.