GENEVA — While the city was turned down for a grant it sought to create a new bike route, council passed a resolution last week in support of the project as officials try to keep it moving forward.
City Manager Doug Starkey said ODOT Director Jerry Wray sent him a letter in September encouraging council to pass a resolution approving the creation of the bike route. The resolution would be a reference point for ODOT to make sure Geneva still wanted to be part of the national bike route.
"We applied for a Transportation Alternatives Program Grant (TAP) and were just recently denied," Starkey said. "However we still support having a bike route that runs through the city. Council passed the resolution as a way of keeping us in the loop and hopefully be helpful when we apply for another grant."
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, bicycle tourism is a growing industry that contributes $133 billion per year to the economy. The Geneva project would cost $1 million, the TAP grant would have covered $770,000.
ODOT has already designated a series of corridors crossing Ohio to be developed as State Bicycle Routes to connect the U.S. Bicycle Routes and communities. In a release, Wray said the network will be similar to the interstate and state route system of highways.
In his letter to Starkey, Wray said ODOT intends to have five U.S. bike routes and 18 state bike routes, and one of these proposed routes, USBR 30 is in Geneva's jurisdiction.
He said the proposed bike network is intended for use by long distance, experienced commuters and will generally connect communities or points of interest. The bike paths to be used are a combination of trails and on-road facilities.
"These are not a recreational route, constructional project or wish list for future roadway or trail improvements," he said. "USBR 30 will be a shared use road following along Ohio Route 534 through Geneva."
Geneva Council President Tim Miller said ODOT wants the city to "stay a part of the process even though the original grant didn't go through. That way, when the grant is applied for again we are visible and viable. ODOT asked us to pass the resolution. They want this bicycle route to go through."
He said he believed the TAP grant process for the bicycle route won't be ready until spring.
Geneva Council Vice President Susan Hagan said she was surprised Geneva didn't get the grant, but council wasn't about to give up on having a national bike route, and that's what the resolution was all about.
"We'll take any chance to get that grant or opportunity to have the national bike road run through Geneva," she said.