The count of bicyclists using the trails through Madison County is rising, it was reported Monday at the county park board’s meeting with Madison County Commissioners.
Wayne Roberts, executive director of Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails, reported the trail counters on the east and west portions of the trail have recorded 5,200 cyclist hits, which he saw as encouraging for use of the trail.
Also, 30 campers have filled out surveys and made donations to the Friends organization, he said.
“They’re coming from all over the country,” Roberts said.
With the success of camping, Roberts suggested looking again at expanding the trail restroom at Wilson Road with an additional toilets, as well as a for-pay shower.
“The infrastructure is there,” he said.
Commissioner Paul Gross questioned the hefty expense of the remodel and said it may not be a good use of funds.
“For only a couple times a year, you can make do,” he said.
Roberts said the brush around the restroom facilities at Wilson Road has been cut back for greater visibility and a night light can be installed for as little as $12 per month.
Thirty cyclists also showed up at 8 a.m. Saturday to the 11th annual Prairie Appreciation Bike Ride, held in memory of educator and wildlife enthusiast Jack McDowell. Roberts called the number of participants good. There were also some young people in the group, he noted.
Dr. John Silvius, professor emeritus of biology, and other instructors, conducted a start and stop learning experience during the event along the Prairie Grass Trail to teach about monarch butterflies, historic prairie remnants and invasive species. It was a free community service ride.
Roberts also reported an inventory of safety signs along the trail has been conducted and a number of stop signs are faded. He was urged to contact county engineer Bryan Dhume regarding sign replacement.
Volunteers and the city of London crew have been the ongoing brush removal of invasive species. Eight volunteers from the student mission camp took their cuts on one day and the City of London removed undesirable foliage on the trail between Maple Street and Spring Valley Road.
In other business:
• Cindy Neff, a nurse with the Madison County-London City Health District, introduced Amy Caldwell who will be working with Neff as she transitions toward retirement after 26 years with the health department.
She said the allotment the commissioners had appropriated — $112,075 for 2016 — has been used for the care of children with medical health needs. Those funds can be used for diagnostic, treatment or services. Neff said the state steps in to cover amounts above appropriations. One client alone had a bill of $85,000.
She said the commission used its entire appropriation in 2015 of $94,085. In 2014, the county had a surplus of $18,500.
• Andrea Klosterman, of Career Exploration, brought two juvenile clients for a tour of the courthouse to give them exposure to the types of jobs which exist in county government.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.