A partnership between the city of Upper Arlington and the village of Marble Cliff is expected to yield an extension of a shared-use path known as the Scioto Greenway Trail.
In 1976, the city of Columbus built its first "greenway trail," which spanned the downtown area along the Scioto River.
Over the years, connections were constructed along the river's west bank from Souder Avenue to Dodge Park and from North Bank Park to Bicentennial Park.
In all, the paved 9-mile path allows bicyclists, joggers and walkers to traverse from the southern edge of downtown Columbus through Scioto Audubon Park and on to the north edge of the downtown, then to the Olentangy Trail, or continue north for 1.5 miles to a terminus at Riverside Drive.
But this year, Upper Arlington and Marble Cliff intend to jointly fund construction of a shared-use path that will extend the Scioto Trail along the south side of West Fifth Avenue from Arlington Avenue to Riverside Drive.
"I'm excited for this project, as it connects us to the Scioto Trail," Upper Arlington City Council President Debbie Johnson said.
In all, the local connection is estimated to cost $618,450.
Of that, $250,000 will be paid for by a grant from the state of Ohio's capital budget.
Another $100,000 will be offset by Franklin County permissive taxes, leaving Upper Arlington and Marble Cliff to split the $268,450 balance of the project cost.
Including a 10 percent contingency in place in case the project exceeds the anticipated budget, the communities each are expected to spend up to $165,147 for the work.
In August, Marble Cliff Fiscal Officer Cindy McKay told ThisWeek Tri-Village News the project was appealing because it would provide local residents with alternative travel routes from that community to Columbus.
"Our goal is to tie into the Greenway Trail so that our residents will be able to ride their bikes all the way to downtown without leaving a bike path," McKay said.
Prior to construction of the path connector, West Fifth Avenue will undergo foundation work between a Norfolk Southern railroad crossing and midway between Andover and Wyandotte roads, according to a Feb. 6 staff report from the Upper Arlington City Engineer's Office.
City Engineer Jackie Thiel said the extension would span about 1,800 feet and would address pavement deterioration in the area, as well as provide more cycling opportunities in the communities.
She said its construction could begin as soon as next month.
"The new shared-use path will provide an active transportation option for Upper Arlington and Marble Cliff residents to downtown Columbus," Thiel said. "The project has provided a great opportunity for Upper Arlington and Marble Cliff to work together for the benefit of both communities.
"We hope to continue joint projects in the future."
Johnson said the project would further Upper Arlington's ongoing goal of creating connectivity to local and regional areas and amenities, as well as to promote more active lifestyles.
She said it would nearly connect with Tremont Road, which the city and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission have held out as a "complete street" because of its accommodations not only for motorists, but also for pedestrians, cyclists and transit vehicles.
"Starting at our northern border, this project will almost complete a connection on our first complete street, Tremont Road," Johnson said. "From there, residents can travel on Arlington Avenue down to Fifth Avenue where this new projects connect.
"Whether for exercise or traveling for work, our residents will benefit from this connection," she said. "This project is also notable for its collaboration to our southern neighbors, Marble Cliff. Together we were able to secure grants and share in the cost that benefits both communities."