GC talks trails

Plans are slowly coming together for a system of recreational trails in Columbus and the surrounding counties. On Sept. 30, a small group of Grove City residents gathered at City Hall to hear from representatives of Central Ohio Greenways about the plans, and give their feedback.   

Central Ohio Greenways is an organization of the various groups involved in planning trails in the area, including parks and recreation departments and representatives from the area cities and towns. Steve Studenmund of Franklin County Metro Parks said the organization works together to coordinate and organize construction of the various trails in the area.   

The residents at the meeting were interested in where the trails were going to be, and how the process of putting them in was going to happen.  

David Hellard of Grove City said he wanted to find out about the possibility of connecting the Ohio to Erie bike trail to Columbus. He said he had ridden the trail from London all the way down to Dayton.  

"That’s just wonderful, and it would be really nice if we could have something like that in this area," he said.  

Studenmund said plans were coming along for bringing the trail up to the area around Interstate 270, but bringing it further into town was presenting challenges.  

Brenda Hritz of Grove City said she was interested in getting bike trails for the community and being able to bike safely with children in Grove City, and added that right now it’s not easy or safe to do that.     

One major path has been proposed that would cross Grove City, coming down Demorest Road, across Southwest Boulevard, and down to White Road which it would follow across town.  

Studenmund said another trail they would like to create would run from Plain City, northeast of Columbus, down to Pickaway County.  

He urged support for future levies for the metro parks, saying that putting in a metro park helps start the process of making a recreational trail. One park they are considering would be at the undeveloped Talbott Park site on Hibbs Road, along Route 104 south of 270.  

Recreational trails could go from that park out in several different directions.  

Studenmund said there are also efforts to get a lot more federal funding for trail projects in central Ohio. He said that’s one reason they are trying to put plans on paper, so that they can demonstrate what they want to do with the money.  

Kim Conrad, director of Grove City Parks and Recreation, said people can help out by advocating for the trails among their peers and to anyone who has a hand in the process, whether it be an official in Grove City, Columbus, or a county commissioner.  

"And we’re going to continue to have these meetings, so come to these meetings and let your voice be heard," she said.

Another meeting residents can attend takes place on Oct. 8. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will hold a meeting on the state trails plan for people connected with building trails and also for the community. The results of these meetings will help guide funding for trails for the next several years. The public meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at Highbanks Nature Center, 9466 Columbus Pike (Route 23), north of Columbus.   

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