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Work on Camp Chase Bike Trail to begin
By 2012, Prairie Township residents and visitors will have a new trail to bicycle, walk, run and ride.
The Camp Chase Rail Trail will reach from Madison County to Sullivant Avenue, spanning 11 miles, with more than five miles of the trail within the township boundaries.
Project administrators attended a meeting May 20, to brief Prairie Township trustees on the plans of the project, which is slated to begin this summer with construction on a stretch from Madison County to Kropp Road just east of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.
Camp Chase Rail Trail is a major component in connecting a statewide trail, the Ohio to Erie Trail, which will run from Cincinnati to Cleveland. The project is in connection with organization Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
According to Eric Oberg, manager of trail development at Rails-to-Trails, the project will cost $10 million, with 40 percent of that projected cost already procured. A portion of the funding will come from a recently passed Metro Parks levy.
The trail will be unique, said Rhonda Border-Boose, also with Rails-to-Trails, because it will co-exist with an existing railroad. Only a few projects trails are similar to Camp Chase because most trails are constructed over railroads.
"This is an exciting project coming to your township," she added.
The projected finish date of the Camp Chase project is 2012, said Oberg, though funding will play a major part in the completion. A portion of the statewide trail has been completed from Madison County to Cincinnati.
Camp Chase's trail is consistent with other trails as it will include a 12-foot wide asphalt trail with vegetative buffer on either side of the trail, according to Metro Park director of planning Steve Studenmund.
Trustee Steve Kennedy expressed concern with several issues, such as crime and projected usage of the trail.
Though the trail will stay open 24 hours, seven days a week, it will also fall under watch of park rangers, said Studenmund. The buffer of plants will also assist in cutting down access to any parcels that border the trail. Studenmund said he has fielded calls from residents affiliated with other projects, who either do not want the trail to go behind their property, or who would like access to the trail from their property.
The project team does not have data on the projected usage of the trail, but, according to Oberg, a similar size of trail outside of Cincinnati sees more than 500,000 visitors per year.
Kennedy also asked about camping facilities or opportunities along the trail.
While the Metro Park system does not plan on constructing any camping space, Oberg and Border-Boose said the trail will give business owners the opportunity to capitalize on the project. In past experience, Border-Boose said, she has seen hotels, bed and breakfast establishments and campgrounds build near the trail.
"The trail itself will eventually become a destination," she said. "A lot of businesses that pop up along it will reap the economic benefits."
Metro Parks as well as Rails-to-Trails will hold two public meetings regarding the Camp Chase project on June 8 and 23 at the Cedar Ridge Lodge at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.
Medal of Merit awarded
Cathy Kisler and Tim Jansen, received Prairie Township Fire Department's first Medal of Merit.
At 6 a.m. Sept. 28, 2008, David Lupton, 24, wrecked his vehicle on Bausch Road, across the street from Jansen's home. The car had flipped upside down, trapping Lupton, who was suspended by his attached seatbelt. A fire then ensued, spreading to the interior of the vehicle.
Kisler was on her way to work when she passed the vehicle. She stopped and ran to the vehicle while Jansen forced the door open. Jansen ran into his home to retrieve a fire extinguisher, and Kisler stayed with Lupton, comforting him while the flames continued to spread. Eventually, the seatbelt melted, releasing Lupton, who fell out of the vehicle.
Firefighters and medics from the township's department arrived on scene and pulled Lupton away from the burning vehicle. Lupton spent three months in the hospital after suffering severe burns to 70 percent of his body.
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