Olentangy Trail: Meeting set, input sought on design options to close gap

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek
Annie Lovegrove (third from left) walks the Olentangy Trail with her children Dean, 6; Shay, 7; and Neil, 10; and their dog, Bear. The city of Columbus plans to fill the gap in the trail, with construction likely starting in 2023. A Zoom meeting will be held 6 p.m. Jan. 21 to allow residents to view the five design options.

The city of Columbus has designs on filling the gap in the Olentangy Trail. 

Construction on a new section of trail to close the gap will require cyclists and other users to exit the dedicated trail and traverse several blocks of neighborhood streets through Clintonville. Although the project likely won’t begin until 2023, residents have a chance to view the options for the final piece of the regional trail. 

The city will present design options and solicit resident and user input in a public meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 21, to be held via Zoom. A link to register for the meeting is available at the Clintonville Area Commission website, clintonvilleareacommission.org. 

Addressing a virtual meeting of the commission Jan. 7, Tom Hibbard of American Structurepoint, one of the city’s partners in the project, said there are five working options to fill the gap. Four feature bridging across the Olentangy River at Clinton-Como Park and Northmoor Park, traversing some of the OhioHealth campus and crossing North Broadway at a traffic light. The fifth stays on the east side of the river. This option, Hibbard said, is the least desirable because of its impact on residential property in the neighborhood. 

The total cost of the project depends on the option selected, Hibbard said. The project received $3.7 million in federal transportation funds through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission; the remainder of the cost, estimated between $4.7 million and $6 million, will be paid by the city. 

Public meetings are the first phase in the project. After the meetings, the desired route will be identified, with engineering taking place through the rest of 2021. Acquiring necessary easements and other property concerns, plus the development of construction plans, will be done during 2022, with construction to begin in 2023. 

“This is so exciting, a big step forward,” commissioner David Vottero said. 

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