Funding for area bike trail enters last leg

Grant leaves small amount to finish path

WARREN — Trumbull County received a $500,000 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant, leaving only a small portion of funding to gather before the last leg of Trumbull County’s portion of the Western Reserve Greenway Bike Trail can be built between Warren and Niles.

The 4-mile stretch of concrete trail will join the end of the trail in Warren at Burton Street SE to the end of the trail in Niles at the trailhead by the Central Park Apartments, at the corner of Robbins Avenue and East State Street SE.

The route will loosely follow Pine Avenue SE from Warren south as it turns into Warren Avenue, following an abandoned railroad, near abandoned industrial properties. Once it reaches Niles, it will follow some city streets to a railroad line and cross two bridges before reaching the trailhead in Niles.

About 80 percent of the approximately $4 million phase 4 project is being paid for with a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program grant. Two state capital grants will cover about $285,000 of the project. Local trail groups have also donated money.

Approximately $166,000 in local matching funds are still needed, said Zachary Svette, executive director of the Trumbull County MetroParks system.

About $75,000 of the local match may be pulled from local matching funds provided in earlier phases of the project, Svette said. To obtain the remaining amount, a little under $100,000, the park system is looking for local foundation grants and / or commercial sponsors, but ultimately, Trumbull County commissioners may have to provide the funds, Svette said.

Any businesses interested in sponsoring some of the work can reach out to Svette at zachary.svette@trumbullmetroparks.org, or call the park office at 330-675-3072.

The project’s right-of-way consultant, MS Consultants, is leading the effort to negotiate with property owners for temporary access to build the trail, and for permanent land acquisition for the land the trail is on, Svette said.

“We have some signed temporary easements at the moment, we are about 5 percent into the acquisition of the properties,” Svette said.

There are 23 parcel owners. The cost of the negotiations will factor into the total cost of the project, and the length of time it takes to negotiate the deals will determine how long it will take before construction can take place, Svette said.

“We are still about a year off from beginning construction. It may be pushed back even further. We will probably start construction in June of next year, pushing the completion date out into 2023,” Svette said.

The greenway will span about 100 miles between Lake Erie in Ashtabula and the Ohio River in Columbiana County, once completed. Most of the trail has been constructed, and the completion of this stretch will finish the Trumbull County portion.



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