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Published: Wednesday, 8/25/2004

Springfield Township seeks fund for trail

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Springfield Township trustees plan to apply for a state grant next month that they hope will result in funds for a bike and pedestrian trail from Strawberry Acres Park in Holland to Albon Road.

Bob Anderson, township administrator, said he will soon have an application ready to submit to the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, which will review area applications for state funding.

The application will seek funds through the transportation enhancement program of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Mr. Anderson said that within that category there is funding available for pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and it allows for a grant of up to 80 percent of construction costs with local governments paying the rest.

The state grant does not pay any of the costs of engineering, any environmental assessments, or possible costs for obtaining necessary rights-of-way.

The project is planned as a joint effort with Holland and Springfield Local Schools, Mr. Anderson said.

No cost estimate has yet been determined, although bike trails can cost up to about $200,000 per mile.

Mary Visco, a member of Holland Village Council, said she has been working toward getting a trail established in the area since 1990.

"I'm just delighted'' that measurable progress is being made, she said.

Ms. Visco noted that in the first years of preparing for the project a lot of time had to be spent determining the ownership of some of the land.

Much of it is along railroad right-of-way, she noted, and some of the issues couldn't be solved without going back about 150 years to when ownership of some parcels was first recorded.

The plan for the path includes a spur to the Toledo-Lucas County Holland branch library, which is next to Strawberry Acres Park, she noted.

If established, the trail would be about 1.7 miles.

Another positive in getting the project under way, she said, is the recent purchase of property by the township at the rear of Homecoming Community Park on Angola Road, which can be used for a portion of the path.

In general, the trail will run along Clarion Avenue and then follow the railroad tracks thatcut through the township's new property and then to Albon.

Mr. Anderson said the trail would be not only be for recreation, but could be used by people visiting commercial businesses near the Clarion, Angola and McCord roads intersections, as well as the branch library.

He said similar trails are popular projects by governments and that it seems when they are constructed they are immediately put to use.

The administrator noted that there is no certainty in getting grants for projects from the state, but that if this application isn't approved, the township will re-apply until a path is constructed.



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