(Posted April 30, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The ribbon-cutting for the newest section of the Ohio To Erie Trail in Madison County drew a crowd, despite chilly weather.
On April 7, the Madison County Park District board and Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails thanked trail supporters for helping to make the extension possible. In addition to cyclists and other trail users, representatives of the Madison County Engineer’s Office, Stanley Electric U.S., city of London, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, and Ohio to Erie to Trail Fund were on hand. Several local businesses also participated, handing out refreshments and coupons.
The new section, nearing completion, is located off of Maple Street, near Center Street (State Route 665), in London. Running between Maple and Walnut streets, it closes part of a 1.13-mile gap in the trail between Maple and Midway streets. The goal is to close the gap entirely so that trail users do not have to use city streets while traversing through the downtown London area.
As the county engineer prepares to finish the new section this spring, FMCPT continues to raise money to pay for the project. At the monthly park district meeting on April 16, Wayne Roberts, FMCPT executive director, reported that $56,000 of the $78,000 has been raised. Donations can be made online at www.fmcpt.com or by sending checks to FMCPT – Trail Gap, P.O. Box 308, London, OH 43140.
Also discussed at the April 16 park board meeting:
* Oversight–The board plans to contract with the county engineer’s office for ongoing maintenance and development of the park district’s assets–the bike trail and the Little Darby Scenic Preserve.
Engineer Bryan Dhume said his office can handle the added responsibilities as he is expanding his staff by two highway workers and an assistant engineer. Part of the assistant’s job will be to create a maintenance plan for the park district, attend board meetings, and engage with FMCPT, whose volunteers have handled the brunt of the maintenance and development work for many years but are aging.
“I think it’s a great collaboration. My hope is it relieves some of the stress the Friends have over the future (of the trail),” said County Commissioner David Dhume.
* Showers–FMCPT had hoped to install a shower near the primitive campground along the trail, behind the Madison County Senior Center. However, Roberts reported, the senior center board said “no” to such a facility.
Roberts said his group is looking into other possibilities, including a primitive shower set-up somewhere else along the trail. Long-term, he said he’d like to see a commercial camping facility along the trail. Shorter term, FMCPT member Jerry Miller said the property near the new gap section would make a nice spot for camping and showers.
* Invasive species removal–Julia Cumming, consultant to the park board, said about 20 adults and high school students helped with trash pick-up and invasive species removal March 30 at the preserve, located on Lafayette Plain City Road.