Park district applies to expand trails

By Martin Graham -

The Fayette County Park District Board met on Wednesday to sign a resolution in an attempt to expand existing bikeway trail segments into the county.

The board signed a resolution authorizing Fayette County Engineer Steve Luebbe to prepare and submit an application to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for funding through the Transportation Alternative program for the design, development, acquisition and construction of additional trails.

The bikeway trails, as outlined in the resolution, will see an expansion of approximately 4.6 miles extending from the eastern terminus of existing trails owned by the Greene County Parks District. The trail extension will head eastward to the village of Milledgeville, and is the first phase of a planned connector between existing trail systems located in eastern and southwest Ohio.

“(These trails) are the best asset we have,” Dan Stahl, Fayette County Park District board member said. “If you think about it, we are a small county with 27,000 people, and you kind of say ‘Well what leverage have you got in these kind of situations?’ and the best leverage is the people that understand how these trails go. The ODOT people look at that whole section over to the southwest, which is supposedly the largest network of trails in the country, and it ends in Greene County. They want to get to Ross County and go up and down the Scioto River, and we happen to be the link.”

Stahl said a majority of the work from about the industrial park to Ross County is completed, with the exception of clean-up work within the city and a few other pieces, but the next step would be to connect a trail from Greene County to Washington Court House. In this effort, the board wants to start a trail toward Milledgeville before seeking additional funding to get that trail to Washington C.H. Additionally, David Kiger, Park District board member, has been working on a section of trail near the YMCA that will be connected to this trail network, according to Stahl.

“This section (of the trail to Milledgeville) should be fairly easy,” Kiger said. “And we truly appreciate the county engineer’s assistance in administering the grant. Steve is going to volunteer his time in this for the benefit of the community and we really appreciate it. Administering these grants takes a lot of paperwork.”

Stahl said it was Luebbe who actually inquired about the grant, and then the board received an invitation from ODOT to apply. He said this means the grant is past the first hurdle and the project has already been considered by ODOT officials, which should be good news toward receiving the money.

“Dan has really done the work on this and Dave has done a tremendous job on trying to get the other parts of this project handled,” Bob Pitakos, Fayette County Park District Board president said. “It is a group effort here on the board.”

For more information about the Fayette County Parks District, stay with the Record-Herald for monthly updates.

By Martin Graham

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy