The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 12, 2014

ODNR awards more than $7 million for trail projects

Ashtabula County to get a pedestrian bridge

ASHTABULA — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources approved grant proposals totaling more than $7 million for trail projects aimed at helping develop and revitalize communities.

Ashtabula Township Park Commission Chairman Mike Wayman said the funding will help develop more than 40 miles of trails in Ohio and construct a pedestrian bridge in Ashtabula County. He said the trails and bridge, which will be built under the Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge, will offer recreational, travel and educational opportunities for area residents.

Wayman was the guest speaker at Ashtabula City Council’s community / economic development / parks and recreation committee meeting Monday evening at the Municipal Building. About a dozen residents and community leaders also attended the meeting.

The Clean Ohio Trails Fund is part of the Clean Ohio Fund that restores, protects and connects Ohio's natural and urban places, he said.

Ohioans approved establishment of the $400 million bond program in 2000. So far, more than $41 million has been used to create more than 292 miles of trails and purchase 80 acres of abandoned railroad and greenway paths.

Wayman said he’s excited about the pedestrian bridge, but has yet to receive a contract from ODNR.

The pavilion and historical marker at the Smolen-Gulf bridge is very popular with tourists and residents, he said.

Wayman also described a wetland restoration project at Indian Trails Park, located behind Ashtabula County Medical Center.

“A lot of fishermen come in, and Indian Trails gives them access to the Ashtabula River,” he said. “We are trying to promote tourism in Ashtabula County.”

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