Outdoor enthusiasts who take advantage of the paved multi-use trails in Pickerington's Victory Park and Sycamore Creek Park have to stop abruptly in the middle of their workout and wait for traffic to pass.
The two trails are divided by a busy Lockville Road, however, the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department is applying for an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant that would help pay for a connector to join the trails.
The joint grant, part of ODNR's "Recreational Trails Fund" and "Clean Ohio Trails Fund" would provide up to an 80-percent match in funding with assistance from the Federal Highway Administration.
The city of Pickerington would be responsible for the remaining 20 percent of construction costs if it successfully obtains the grant.
"There is some field work we have to do to complete the grant (process)," said Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Medinger.
"We'll be seeing what the best means is to get an access road (between the parks)," she said, adding the process entails determining whether building a connector under the road or over the road via a bridge is the best option.
Medinger told Pickerington City Council's Safety Committee Dec. 18 during the budget season we were trying to figure out ways of using our impact fees and at the last minute we found a grant available."
She said the grant award is capped at $500,000, "which is pretty big."
She said a successful grant award could also be used to build additional trails in both parks, such as in Sycamore Creek Park, where a loop could be built to connect the trail there.
Currently the trail simply ends near the city's tennis courts.
In addition to trail construction, the Recreational Trails grant also covers easement acquisition, trail maintenance costs and the construction of trail side facilities such as restrooms.
Given that the deadline for the ODNR grant is Feb. 1, City Councilman Jeff Fix recommended City Council consider a motion approving the grant application in mid-January, prior to the next Safety Committee meeting.