Representatives of the villages of Genoa and Elmore and Clay Township are scheduled to meet Feb. 2 to discuss the next phase of a trail project linking the three communities.
Elmore Village Council last week approved a resolution of support for the Ottawa County commissioners to apply to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Transportation for funding assistance for the Elmore to Genoa leg of the North Coast Inland Trail.
Genoa Village Council approved a similar resolution last month.
Clay Township trustees are supportive of the project but need more time to secure easements and right-of-way authorization, Don Hoeft, a trustee, said last week. Much of the property in the township along the abandoned railway the trail would follow has been purchased by Graymont Dolime and the company has indicated it’s not interested in releasing easements for its property.
The trustees have notified commissioner Steve Arndt that the township isn’t able to proceed this year with the grant application process.
“We’re supporting it. We just don’t have the financing. Our funds are real strapped,” Hoeft said.
The trustees will be spending much of this year acquiring the rights for an alternate route along Martin-Williston Road and State Route 163, he said.
“We didn’t have the easements we need so we didn’t want to jeopardize the grants that will be needed,” Hoeft said. “We couldn’t go along the railroad property so we need a new route going into Genoa.”
The meeting this week will focus on how best to finance the project and secure easements, he said, adding the trustees plan to seek donations to help pay for the cost of easements.
The Fremont to Elmore section of the trail opened in the fall of 2008 and Elmore hosted the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure the summer of 2009.
Planners intend to retain Poggemeyer Design Group to prepare engineering specifications for the section of the trail in the township.
Typically, construction starts about three years after grants have been awarded, Hoeft said. He estimated construction costs could reach $2 million and the three jurisdictions are also responsible for allocating adequate funding for maintenance costs once the trail is built.
The North Coast Inland Trail is open to pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles.