Park board gets grant for bike trail
LISBON — The Columbiana County Park District has been awarded a $142,860 grant by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to repave part of the Greenway Bicycle Trail.
District Chairwoman Dottie Betz said that work on the trail improvement could start as early as next year. The section to be repaved is between Leetonia and Franklin Square, a distance of just over a mile.
“We are just thrilled to have been awarded the grant,” Betz said. “That part of the trail has been deteriorating and this will definitely improve it for the benefit of all.” The section is in the wetlands part of the trail.
Under terms of the award, the park district will have to put up a 20 percent match, or about $36,000.
“Many riders are currently using the adjacent roadway instead of the trail to avoid these very rough and damaged areas,” Betz said. “The repair will remove broken and damaged blacktop and rebuild it to ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) standards, assuring safe passage of all trail users from Washington Street in Leetonia to Old state Route 344 at Franklin Square.”
The pavement to be replaced was first laid in 2004 and 2005.
The project will start once the district receives a final go-ahead from the state.
The district earlier this year was rejected for a grant to extend the trail along State Route 154 to the Day’s Inn outside Lisbon. The district is reapplying for that grant next year, she said.
The Greenway Trail attracted an estimated 100,000 users this year. The trail’s first eight miles, from Lisbon to Franklin Square, were laid in 1999.
After expanding to Leetonia, the trail was extended again in 2013 to Washingtonville, taking it to its current length of 12 miles. Park officials hope that it will be connected to a similar bike trail in Mahoning County next year as part of a biking/hiking network that organizers say will connect Lake Erie with the Ohio River.