JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Metroparks board met on Friday morning to authorize an agreement with ODOT for a pair of Greenway Trails.

The North Shore Trail, proposed more than 20 years ago, would connect the Western Reserve Greenway Trail to Lake Erie, running from where the Western Reserve Greenway intersects with West Avenue, north to Walnut Beach.

The trail would consist of shared right of way on roads, bike paths and widened sidewalks, according to the Metroparks. A groundbreaking was held in the Ashtabula Harbor in October of 2019.

“It  was almost perfunctory, because all of the planning and all of the paperwork and all of the preparation has already been done, and this was just affirming it,” Board President Holly Mayernick said.

There are still more steps to take in the process of finishing the trail. Friday’s motion was a step in finishing up some of the paperwork associated with the project, Mayernick said.

The trail is expected to cost $2 million, according  to the Metroparks’ website. The Metroparks received a $1.16 million grant from ODOT to aid in construction of the trail.

The North Shore Trail is part of the Proposed Great Ohio Lake to River Trail, which, when completed, will run from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

The Metroparks still need to get approval for the final route, then go through a bidding process for the construction of the trail, Mayernick said.

The plan is for construction to start in early summer.

“Getting this trail all the way down to the beach is a huge, huge part of our economic development plan. I’ve been out on that trail. I see a lot of money out there,” said Jim Timonere, Ashtabula City Manager, at the groundbreaking for the trail in October.

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