The Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails (FMCPT) never stop finding ways to improve the bike path that runs through Madison County.
In conjunction with the City of London, the non-profit group is applying for a Clean Ohio Green Space grant to build a small observation deck overlooking the city-owned wetlands located off of East Center Street (Route 665) in London, about one-eighth of a mile from the Roberts Pass Trailhead near Maple Street.
“It will be a good place to observe nature and a good place to stop along the trail. You can see a heron nest and other waterfowl from there, said Alan Knowles, a London city councilman and member of FMCPT.
Knowles briefly outlined the project at the Sept. 20 London Council meeting. He explained that the group needs council as a sponsor in the grant-writing process but does not need city funding. If London receives the grant, FMCPT will pay the required 25 percent match. As to how much the match will be and how much the project will cost overall, Knowles said final numbers have not yet been determined. An architect is working on the details.
“We should have an estimate soon. The deadline to make the grant application is Oct. 22, said Julia Cumming, grant writer for FMCPT and program administrator for the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District.We should know by the first part of next year whether or not we got the funding.
Plans call for the observation deck to cantilever out over the wetlands. A raised ceiling and cupola on the roof will be designed to loosely reflect a train station style. The floor will be covered primarily in paver stones.
“It will be as low maintenance as we can make it, Knowles said.
The Clean Ohio Green Space Fund is administered by the Ohio Public Works Commission.
To learn more about the bike path and the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails, go to www.fmcpt.com.
Upcoming bike rides
FMCPT is hosting a couple of bike rides in October—its 1st annual fall color ride on Oct. 13 and the last of its 2012 full moon ride series on Oct. 29.
• Deer Creek Fall Color Ride: This Oct. 13 ride will celebrate the autumn leaf turn along the byways in the Darby Creek and Deer Creek valleys.
The tour consists of two routes: a 38-mile short loop to Darbydale and around toward London along Deer Creek; and a 77-mile option meandering along Darby Creek to Williamsport and over to the Deer Creek valley via Deer Creek State Park near Mount Sterling and back to London.
Both rides kick off between 8 and 10 a.m. from the Prairie Grass Trail trailhead located behind the Madison County Senior Citizens Center, 280 W. High St., London. The courses wind through rural countryside in Madison, Franklin, Pickaway and Fayette Counties, featuring gently rolling terrain.
Both routes start on the Prairie Grass Trail, go to Roberts Pass on the east side of London, and on to the Camp Chase Trail before turning south to Darbydale following rural roads through the two valleys on the way back to London. Since this is a budget tour, riders may opt to take a counter-clockwise loop and come back via the bikeway.
The $5 pre-registration fee includes detailed tour maps, identification number (which must be displayed at all times), and support services. FMCPT will also sell t-shirts the day of the tour for $15.
All pre-registrations must be received by Oct. 6. All registrations received after Oct. 6, including the day of the tour, are $8. No refunds.
For details or to download a registration form, go to www.fmcpt.com.
• Full Moon Bike Ride: This Oct. 29 ride starts at 7 p.m. at the Prairie Grass Trailhead behind the Madison County Senior Center, 280 W. High St., London. Options include a 20-mile round trip to South Charleston or a 10-mile trip to Neil Road (departing 15 minutes later than the times listed above). Riders are encouraged to come equipped with helmets, lights and light-colored clothing. Registration is not required. There is no charge to participate.