The Olander Park System and the Metropolitan Park District of the Toledo Area are in the early planning stages of connecting several Sylvania-area parks with bike trails.
"We're a growing community with a diverse population," said Sylvania Township Trustee Dennis Boyle. "We have young families coming in with young kids that need safe places to ride bikes as well as a growing senior community that is taking advantage of these types of trails."
Gary Madrzykowski, director of the Olander Park System in Sylvania, has proposed extending the western end of University-Parks Trail at King Road. The 6.3-mile trail is managed by Wildwood Preserve Metropark and connects the park to the UT campus.
Jim Spengler, Metroparks executive director, said he supports the idea, but before anything can be done, he needs to hear from his agency's partners on the trail, which include the city of Toledo, Lucas County, Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District and the University of Toledo.
And, no matter who supports the project, concrete plans cannot be made until the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency weighs in.
The proposed trail would be brought through the northern end of the former King Road landfill, which was shut down in 1976. Jim Shaw, county sanitary engineer, expects a report from the EPA by the end of summer.
"It does sound like if everything is taken care of, the bike trail would probably be accepted," said Dina Pierce, EPA spokesman. She said the agency is reviewing a plan to clean up the landfill.
If the EPA approves, officials from each group will seek permission and funding from Lucas County commissioners.
"I love the bike trail system in the county," said county commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak. "I am very much in favor of that and I will continue to work toward continuing our efforts on bike trails in general."
Mr. Madrzykowski plans to start applying for state and federal grants in the fall. In addition, the tax money each park
system collects could help fund the project. There is no estimated cost for the entire proposed path.
The trails would serve as a safety feature for the surrounding neighborhoods, said Mr. Madrzykowski.
"All the roads [in that area] are 50-55 miles per hour, they're all single-lane, and hardly any of them have sidewalks," he said. "We literally take [kids] off the roads and put them in safe park and bike trail environments."
The proposed extension would cross King Road and meet another proposed trail at Herr Road. That second trail is intended to connect Timberstone Junior High School, Fossil Park, Centennial Quarry and Terrace, and Pacesetter Park.
"It just seems like a natural extension of what's there now," said Mr. Boyle.
The trail would run through property the park system purchased last year: 100 acres in all between Sylvania Avenue and Brint Road.
Mr. Madrzykowski would also like to connect the proposed trail to Secor Metropark. The Metroparks are acquiring land to extend the 64-mile Wabash Cannonball Trail to Secor from Oak Openings Preserve.
"It would put Sylvania Township's roughly 45,000 residents on the major statewide bike trails," said Mr. Madrzykowski. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is encouraging the formation of a statewide bike trail to include northern Ohio.
Mr. Madrzykowski said he wants all 104 acres of the former King landfill to be turned into a park eventually, because the rapidly developing area is losing green space all the time.
Mr. Shaw said that through a process called bioremediation, the plants and trees that have grown at the former landfill have actually cleaned the groundwater.
"Mother Nature got a second chance at that site, and cleaned it up," Mr. Madrzykowski said. "Let's reward Mother Nature by keeping it a park site."
He said the team effort may help in finding financial support for the new trails.
The part of the trail that is proposed to run from the junior high school to Centennial Quarry and Terrace is expected to cost $360,000. The park system is waiting until October to hear if they've been granted funds from the ODNR. If they have, they'll start construction on that trail in spring 2005.
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