Trails are investment for residents

Monday October 21, 2013 1:18 PM

To the Editor:

Gahanna is known throughout central Ohio for its natural beauty in all of our parks and green spaces. A strong and viable parks system improves our quality of life, enhances economic value and provides environmental protection for our natural resources and wildlife.

Recreational trails, sometimes known as bike paths or multipurpose paths, are important investments. Trails also provide alternative transportation for our residents, opportunities for increased physical activity and improved connections to neighbors, schools and parks. Trails also provide a positive economic impact through employee and business attraction, increased property values and visitor interest. Additionally, trails are key to attracting home buyers who are looking for recreational outlets.

Our recent community survey showed that 86 percent of residents support building a system of trails to connect Gahanna neighborhoods and lead to other parts of Franklin County.

Recently, with the assistance of grant funds, we were able to complete a new section of the Big Walnut Trail. This new section connects more than 1,000 homes to the main trail network. To date, five of the nine sections are now completed.

Once finalized, Gahanna citizens will have greater accessibility to their parks, schools and local businesses, extending from Morse Road to Pizzurro Park.

Funding for trails comes from grants from federal and state resources, along with matching dollars from the city's general fund. To close the gap, our five-year capital-needs assessment includes money for trail investment. The income-tax reform proposal, if passed, would provide the necessary funding to complete construction and help sustain the Big Walnut Trail.

As Gahanna continues to strive to be citizen-centric and develop smart infrastructure, it becomes more important to continue to invest in trails and connectivity. The economic, environmental and quality-of-life improvements our trail system brings remains a priority for Gahanna residents.

Tony Collins
Gahanna parks and recreation director