(Posted June 19, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Park Board is moving forward with a sealcoating project for a portion of the county’s bike path.
The board received a grant of $23,216 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Recreation Trails program. The money will be used to sealcoat the asphalt on the Prairie Grass Trail, from the trailhead behind the Madison County Senior Center on West High Street to the Clark County line, a distance of about 6.5 miles.
The Madison County commissioners accepted the grant on June 15. The grant requires a 20 percent match in local funds. A portion of the funding, up to $2,500, will go to Jim Schneider of Trailworks to oversee the project, making sure the specifications of the project are followed, including the ratio of water to asphalt mix.
Commissioner Paul Gross requested that the sealcoating work be put out to public bid. He wants the bidding process to be open to any company interested in doing the work.
Julia Cumming, who serves as a consultant to the park board, estimates the project will cost $25,000 to complete. If funds are left over, they will go toward the cost of filling cracks in the asphalt.
Originally, the Friends of the Madison County Parks & Trails (FMCPT) planned to purchase a machine to fill the cracks, but have since opted not to make the purchase.
“We’re not sure a volunteer group is the best group to handle the job. It’s more of a job for contractors,” said Wayne Roberts, FMCPT executive director.
Cumming said the sealcoating project will be advertised for bids. Interested parties will be invited to a pre-construction meeting to learn more about the job, after which they will turn their bids into the county commissioners.
Depending on how the bidding process goes, the work could be completed this year. Temperatures must be at least 55 degrees for the process to set correctly.
The park board received word of the grant award in December. A required environmental review was completed and filed earlier this month.
Prairie Appreciation Bike Ride
Learn about native wildflowers and prairie grasses as you bike the Prairie Grass Trail. The free program runs from 8 to 11 a.m. July 18.
John Silvius, a professor emeritus of biology at Cedarville University, and Julia Cumming, program administrator for the Madison Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), will lead the ride.
The starting point is the trailhead at 280 W. High St., London, behind the Madison County Senior Center. Turning points are set at the three-mile and 5.5-mile marks. The Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails are co-sponsoring the event.
Jack McDowell, a former SWCD supervisor, started the ride 10 years ago. He was an early discoverer of the remnant prairies in Madison and Clark counties and initiated efforts to protect them from threats from invasive woody plant and agricultural weed species.