A state grant will aid the Ashtabula County Metroparks in future construction of the Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail.
The parks system recently received a $500,000 grant through the Clean Ohio Trails Fund for the project.
Ashtabula County Metroparks executive director Larry Frimerman said this grant, along with other grants received, brings total funding available for the project up to $1.6 million. The project has a total estimated price tag of $2.1 million.
“Without this we really couldn’t do the project, or it would be a much smaller section,” Frimerman said.
In September, the Ashtabula County Metroparks celebrated a $1.2 million grant which will aid in construction of the first phase of more than 3 miles of trail from Andover Village Hall to Leon Road.
The trail will ultimately run from the Pennsylvania state line through Dorset and connect to the Western Reserve Greenway Trail, a stretch that is more than 25 miles. The Metroparks have owned the land where the trail will exist since 2003. It was originally a rail line.
State Sen. Sean O’Brien lauded the Clean Ohio Trails Fund for providing funds for this project.
“Trails of all kinds provide not only significant economic and environmental benefits, but are also important community features that improve quality of life, encourage community connections and promote healthy lifestyles,” O’Brien said. “These funds will help connect our region to a larger trails system that will give our residents even more access to the great outdoors.”
Construction of the trail could begin in the next couple of years, but it has been a concept for a couple decades.
“We are very excited to get a project like this off the ground after 20 years in the works,” Frimerman said.
Not everyone has been on board with the idea of a paved trail being constructed. The area where the trail will exist is currently used at times by people on four wheelers, but in accepting grant dollars, the Metroparks had to agree to not allow motorized vehicles on the trail.
For a while, a petition circulated in parts of South County to stop the trail.
Frimerman has said previously that the trail will likely be open to equestrian activities, and possibly snowmobiles with a certain amount of snowfall.