Stimulus funds piece together bike trail
Using funds from the $1.66-billion bond package passed by Columbus voters in November, the city planned to construct a 2.2-mile trail connecting two pieces of the Alum Creek Trail.
When city leaders decided not to issue bonds early this year because of budget shortfalls, that project, along with many others, lost its funding.
But with help from the federal government's stimulus package and an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant, the bike trail project will move forward this summer, said Brad Westall, greenways planner for the Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks.
"This trail is a perfect match for the stimulus money," Westall said. "We had all of the pieces and parts ready to go to build in 2009."
With $3-million in stimulus funds passed to the city through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and a $400,000 grant from ODNR's Clean Ohio Trails Fund, construction on the trail will break ground this fall, with completion set for early next summer, Westall said.
The trail, which will include three stream crossings, will connect to an existing piece of the Alum Creek Trail in Innis Park and will travel south, around the Bridgeview Golf Course, before connecting to another existing piece of the trail on Sunbury Road, two miles south of the park and just north of Mock Road.
Once that portion of the Alum Creek Trail is constructed, Westall said the city will have only two short links left to construct to complete the Alum Creek Trail, which is planned to be part of the Ohio-to-Erie statewide trail connecting Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
Westall said the remaining portions that need to be completed include an approximately 800-foot portion that would connect Innis Park and Easton and a short link connecting the current piece of the project to Ohio Dominican University.
While the city's current budget shortfall could mean a delay for the last two links of the trail, Westall said completing the already planned portion between Innis Park and Sunbury Road is an important step in seeing the overall trail completed.
"Those are in the planning stages," Westall said of the last two portions of the Alum Creek Trail. "Now they move up a few notches."