As Orange Township prepares to apply for grants to fund a new recreational trail, the township board of trustees has received a donation to help pay for the trail project to reach Alum Creek State Park.
At their Jan. 21 meeting, trustees accepted a $22,000 check from Consolidated Electric Cooperative Inc., an electric company with an easement in Alum Creek State Park. The money will help pay for the township's construction of a trail that will start at the intersection of Bale Kenyon and Lewis Center roads and end at the park.
"Commitment to community is a founding principal of Consolidated Electric," said Pam Hawk, spokeswoman for the company. "(We) are dedicated to improving the quality of life for our members and communities we serve."
Beth Hugh, Orange Township's maintenance and park director, said it was decided through several meetings with Alum Creek State Park officials that the company wanted to help pay for the trail.
"During one of those meetings, they mentioned they have this fund available," Hugh said. "When they get things like easements, you are earmarked for that park and for that location, and they wanted to put that toward this project."
The donation will be set aside for this project only. However, the township must find another source of funds.
The trustees voted to allow the park board to apply for two grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources -- the Clean Ohio Trails Fund and the Recreational Trails Program -- to acquire additional funding for the trail.
The grants, if awarded, could provide $500,000 toward the estimated $600,000 project.
The trail is planned to be 10 feet wide, pass over the spillway and be wheelchair-accessible. It will end in the Alum Creek State Park parking lot and connect to additional trails in the park, as well as allow easy access to the playground.
The township already is improving the area along Bale Kenyon Road.
"With Bale Kenyon improvements, we'll do a trail from Orange Road to Lewis Center and that's part of the road improvements," Hugh said. "That will help us get up to Alum Creek and getting into the park, and into a functionally reasonable place instead of dumping you into a sodded area."
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awards the grants in the fall. Hugh said she is "keeping fingers crossed" that the township receives the grants.
Trustees will meet next at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, at the township offices, 1680 E. Orange Road.