Delaware County commissioners voted unanimously Thursday, Feb. 14, to support the village of Galena's efforts to obtain and implement a $214,944 Clean Ohio Trails bicycle project.
The vote of support will allow the village to move forward with its application for a grant to pave a 2,000-foot multiuse recreational trail from Dustin Road to Holmes Street, including the decking of the railroad bridge that crosses Little Walnut Creek.
Gus Comstock, the county's director of economic development, said he was excited to recommend the project to the commissioners.
"Quality of life is a big indicator of the success of a community," Comstock said, "and this is going to be a project that adds to the quality of life in Delaware County."
As part of its pledge of support, the board of commissioners agreed to serve as the fiscal agent for the project, loaning up to $214,944 to the village with the understanding that the sum will be reimbursed later out of the Clean Ohio Trails fund administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Galena Administrator Jeanna Burrell also addressed the board.
"In the Galena area, we are very blessed with natural beauty, what with the reservoir and two rivers coming through the village," she said, "and we enjoy sharing those assets with the larger community. We have a good relationship with the Delaware County Friends of the Trail, who have spearheaded a lot of our trail efforts. We have a nice parks and trails system."
The village has been working with multiple jurisdictions, including Genoa Township, to improve the system of trails in central Ohio, Burrell added.
"It's all part of a bigger scheme: the buildout of the Ohio to Erie Trail," she said. "We're working to piece together the puzzle that will eventually run right through Galena and connect Cincinnati to Cleveland."
In October, the village learned it also would be a route for the Adventure Cycling Association's planned U.S. Route 50 bike trail, which will stretch from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.
Dave Bender is the media contact for the Delaware County Friends of the Trail. He said the trails aren't just for cyclists.
"The Friends have been working primarily on the 16-mile section of the Ohio to Erie Trail from Westerville in the south on up to County Line Road," he said, "but I should stress that probably half of the folks who use the trails are walkers or runners. They're really for everyone."
Galena Mayor Tom Hopper said bike trails are a good way to attract outsiders to the village.
"The cyclists are a good bunch of people, and hopefully, they'll spend a little bit of money as they are passing through," he said.