By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
A portion of the bike path that runs through London is due for sealcoating. The Madison County Metropolitan Park Board is applying for grant funding to cover a large chunk of the cost.
Julia Cumming, a Madison County Soil and Water Conservation employee, serves as the park board’s consultant and grant writer. On Jan. 21, she presented information about the project and the grant opportunity to the Madison County commissioners, who make up the park board.
The Roberts Pass portion of the trail, which runs from London east to Wilson Road near the Franklin County line, was sealcoated in 2012. It’s the Prairie Grass portion, which runs from London southeast to South Charleston in Clark County, that needs attention, she said.
“The last time it was done was in 2009,” Cumming said.
The estimated cost to sealcoat the Prairie Grass portion is $33,647. As in the past, the park board is applying for funding through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Recreational Trails program.
The program offers various levels of funding. Cumming suggested applying at the 69 percent level, which would put the state’s share at $23,216 and the local match at $10,431.
“It’s what we’ve applied for in the past and received,” she said, noting that an applicant’s chances of receiving funding are higher when they ask for less money.
Commissioner Paul Gross said he’d rather see the park board shoot for the next level of funding offered, 80 percent.
“It’s worth taking a chance,” he said.
Commissioners Mark Forrest and David Dhume agreed. Cumming said she would adjust the grant application to reflect the 80 percent request, which would put the state’s share of the cost at $26,917 and the local match at $6,729.
The commissioners decided that should the park board receive the grant, the local match dollars would come from the county’s capital improvement fund.
The grant application is due Feb. 2. Cumming said recipients likely will be notified close to the end of 2014. If the county receives the grant, the sealcoating would take place in 2015.
In other bike path news, the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails recently held its annual meeting at which volunteers in the trail sentinel program were recognized for their service.
Sentinels help to make the Ohio to Erie Trail safe for users by being the eyes and ears of the trail. They are certified in first aid and CPR and can help with flat tires. In 2013, 10 volunteers donated 516 hours to monitoring the trail in Madison County.
Those volunteers were John Allison, Julia Cumming, Dick and Ginny Fogt, Harry Huffman, Mike Michael, Jerry Miller, Gene Pass, Jim Price and Wayne Roberts.
Applications to become a Trail Sentinel are being accepted now. Forms are available at www.fmcpt.com under the “Programs” tab or by contacting Julia Cumming at (740) 852-4004. Volunteers receive training, a helmet cover, a vest and a first aid kit.