Groveport wheeling ahead on bicycle path

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Groveport Village Council has swapped a skatepark for a bicycle/walking path.

Village Administrator Jon Crusey told council at its Jan. 22 committee of the whole meeting that, in order to fund a proposed bicycle path that would connect Groveport to Three Creeks Park, some other project would have to be removed from the five year capital improvement plan to free up money for the construction of the bicycle path.

Crusey said original estimates for building the bicycle path were around $230,000 to $250,000. However, he told council Public Works Superintendent Dennis Moore recently obtained a revised estimate of $140,000 for building the bicycle path.

Construction of the proposed skatepark was estimated at $163,500.

"If we remove the skatepark (from the capital improvement plan) we can fully fund the bike path," observed Crusey.

Adding to the skatepark’s dilemma was the Groveport Madison Board of Education’s decision on Jan. 16 to reject a proposed lease agreement with the village that would have provided a site for a skatepark on open land across from Glendening Elementary.

"I’ve backed the skatepark, but now we’ve lost the land for it," said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert. "Since we don’t have the land for the skatepark I can see moving that money (for use on the bike path)."

Hilbert added that skaters will be able to use the new bicycle path and suggested that consideration be given to providing some rails along the path for skaters to use.

Councilman Jim Staebler said the bicycle path would be a higher priority than the skatepark for safety considerations because people have been biking or walking along narrow Old Hamilton Road to reach Three Creeks Park.

"We need to do something before something goes horribly wrong on (Old) Hamilton Road," said Staebler.

Council instructed Crusey to replace the skatepark with the bicycle path in the five year capital improvement plan.

Council will vote on legislation at its Jan. 28 authorizing  Crusey to proceed with obtaining bids and contracting for the construction of the bicycle path.

About the bicycle/walking path

Groveport purchased 2.85 acres of land from Dan Foor at a cost of $99,750 to be used for the proposed bicycle path route to connect the village to Three Creeks Park.

The acreage is a 30 foot wide strip of land that extends north from Front Street to the Elmont Place subdivision and follows the  right of way of the former Rarey Road, which once ran from Front Street to Blacklick Creek before being abandoned by Franklin County in 1929.

The proposed bicycle path itself will be 10 feet wide and paved with asphalt.

"It’ll be about 8,000 feet of pavement, a little over a mile," said Moore.

Once the proposed bicycle path reaches Elmont Place, one option for the path’s route would be for walkers and bicyclists to use that subdivision’s sidewalks and streets for a short distance to reach Groveport’s Cruiser Park (the soccer park) along Old Hamilton Road. From there the paved bicycle path would pick up again and proceed through Cruiser Park across Bixby Road to Three Creeks Park.

Village officials are optimistic that construction of the bicycle path could begin in the spring or summer of 2008.

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