Hurd administration announces new trail that will connect to downtown Easton


The new trail, which will go behind the Simon Center for Economics, will connect with the steps pictured here. (Photo courtesy of LafNews)

By Kaitlin Ahern, Contributing Writer

President Nicole Hurd brought a fresh perspective and a promise to revitalize the Lafayette community on College Hill. Hurd wasted no time making good on this promise, launching major projects within months of her installment. One of these is the creation of a new trail connecting Easton to the steps leading down College Hill.

State Representative Robert Freeman, a resident of College Hill, initially brought the concept of a new trail to the school’s attention. Several years ago, he reached out to the Executive Director of Foundation, Corporate, and Government Relations Maurice S. Luker III about revitalizing old service roads and pathways on and near campus to create a new, accessible trail. This new access point would foster connections between Lafayette College, College Hill and the greater Easton community.

According to Hurd, the team responsible for the project is in close cooperation with local and state governments to advance the initiative. 

“I had the joy of going with [Easton Mayor Salvator J. Panto Jr.] to Harrisburg to visit with some of our representatives, both our state senator Senator Boscola and then our local representative, Representative Freeman. The request [for the trail] was already in at that point, but we went to go visit them to talk them through the request. I was very excited when they both supported it and got their colleagues to support it,” Hurd said. 

Following this meeting, Hurd and Luker III secured an $869,694 grant through the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Financing Authority for the project. The College has since met that grant with a 30% match for a total of over $1.2 million. 

Hurd explained that the college was willing to support this project over others on campus for a few reasons. 

“I am squarely about community. And I think this trail is a visible indicator of our commitment to be part of the greater Easton community and making the Lafayette community stronger. And like [I] said, I am concerned about issues of access, mobility, safety. And so I think this [project] hits a lot of different pieces,” Hurd said. 

The proposed trail is set to begin off of South College Drive, behind the Simon Center for Economics, and continue diagonally across the hillside escarpment. The trail will then go down past the Karl Stirner Arts Trail at North Third Street. The walkway will have several amenities to increase community engagement, including underground heating to prevent the trail from icing over, trash receptacles, bike racks and a trailhead. 

“The idea is that it will have spaces to stop along the way with benches and artwork, to continue the theme of the arts trail. We plan on working with [the Director of Galleries and Curator of Collections at Lafayette] Ricardo Reyes to include this art. There is incredible potential for stopping and enjoying the view of Eason and the Delaware River,” Luker III said. 

He also noted that the trail design is not final and must be more detailed, but he hopes for construction to begin later in 2022, with work continuing into the following year.