The City of Washington Court House was awarded a $500,000 Clean Ohio grant by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday morning to help connect the Tri-County Triangle Trail.
The Clean Ohio Trails Fund works to improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans by funding trails for outdoor pursuits of all kinds. Local governments, parks and joint recreation districts, conservancy districts, soil and water conservation districts, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for Clean Ohio grants.
The Triangle Trail’s mission has been to support recreational trails in Ross, Fayette, and Highland counties by working with local government agencies. The Tri-County Triangle Trail was formed in the early 1990’s with the idea of converting abandoned railroad right-of-ways into public multi-use trails connecting Chillicothe, Frankfort, Greenfield, and Washington C.H.
“This whole project takes a lot of people, it takes the support of the community,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “But it really takes one incredible grant writer to obtain this opportunity. When these applications are selected, that’s when the lobbying stops. They don’t involve bureaucrats in this decision, these grants are just so competitive. This is a very exclusive grant, and very competitive and selective, so I want to give kudos to your grant writer, whoever that is.”
The grant writer responsible for winning the Clean Ohio grant is Jim Schneider, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
“I am so impressed with the Triangle Trail,” said Zehringer. “What you have established since the 90’s is just incredible. This trail connects regions and this is truly what we are here to promote. People want to be hiking, they want to be biking, they just want to be able to be outdoors. So I am really proud of what you’re doing here.”
The grant will allow for a trail to be constructed from “the ponds” of Washington Park to the YMCA.
“What we like about this is that this allows for a non-highway way to get to the trails,” said Washington C.H. City Manager Joe Denen. “The other thing that I think in the long run will be a tremendous asset is that this will go through a wetland area where the geography is a little bit different from what most people experience in Fayette County. We are able to make some connections to the Industrial Park that have needed to be done for quite some time, and I cannot get over how enormously pleased I am.”
Reach Kellee Bonnell at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @newskelleebee.