ODNR grant for bike trail approved

Wayne Roberts, right, board member for the Madison County Parks and Trails, tells Madison County Commissioners the Friends will not be purchasing a crack sealing machine for trail maintenance due to the expertise needed to operate it. FMCPT Board member Alan Knowles looks on.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has officially approved a grant proposal for a local bike path’s maintenance, it was learned Monday at the Madison County commissioners meeting with the Madison County Park Board.

The grant will provide funding for crack filling and asphalt sealing of the Prairie Grass section of the local bike trail.

Park board spokeswoman Julia Cumming said the grant proposal was approved in December, but was subject to an environmental review. A letter confirming that review had finally been completed and was received recently.

The area of the trail which will have cracks filled and then top coated is the 6.5 mile stretch between the Prairie Grass Trailhead and the Clark County line.

The estimate for the work is $25,000, with crack filling yet to be determined, Cumming said. The county provides a 20 percent match while ODNR provides 80 percent.

Commissioners asked if the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails (FMCPT) nonprofit organization still intended to purchase a crack repair machine. Cumming said no because operating it requires professional expertise which the FMCPT volunteers have not attained.

Bids will be sought for the work.

Cumming also reminded commissioners and residents to keep open the date of Saturday, July 18, for the Prairie Grass Trail Ride. It will be an informative, “slow” ride, which will explore the environmental diversity of the trail from its trailhead to the Clark County line, she said.

In other business, park board member Alan Knowles said he was tired following his completion of five round trips of the Ohio to Erie Trail. There wasn’t time for sight seeing, just lots of pedaling, he added.

Knowles said work on the trail is still in construction stages in the metro areas including Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. He referred to the area of the trail through Akron as “perfect.”

Knowles said once the section in Franklin County is completed and connects to Madison County, traffic from the east to the county will increase.

Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.