Plans for a 14-mile recreational trail along the C&D Canal were announced today by Delaware's Congressional delegation and state leaders.

The first phase of construction will begin next spring along the north side of the canal from Delaware City to just beyond Summit Marina.

Uses for the paved trail include hiking, biking, walking, jogging, skating and horse riding.

Many credit former Delaware Congressman Mike Castle for pushing the project for many years. Thanks to $4.2 million in federal dollars, the project is about to become a reality.

"I just can't thank all the individuals who helped with this enough," Castle said. "They just made a huge difference. It's going to make Delaware a better state. Bottom line, I think it's going to provide an area of great enjoyment for many people."

Gov. Jack Markell says the trail will create jobs, attract tourists and be a boon to the local economy.

"I mean who wouldn't want to live right here and have access to this fantastic trail?"

DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara says the project is something state residents have been clamoring for.

"Delawareans want trails," he said. "Every time we do our surveys at the Department of Natural Resources, trails and access to outdoor recreation is number one on things they think we should be investing in."

The project also includes the construction of parking and rest facilities. Additional phases of the trail are scheduled to be completed in the future.