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Published: Wednesday, 10/6/2004

Springfield Township: Grant requested for trail

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Springfield Township has submitted a request for a grant that could provide 80 percent of the estimated $460,000 cost of a proposed hike and bike trail from Railroad Park in Holland to Community Homecoming Park on Angola Road in the township.

If established, the trail would be about 1.7 miles and is seen as a phase in establishing a trail from the village's Strawberry Acres Park west to Albon Road.

Bob Anderson, township administrator, said the request was sent to the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments for submission to the Ohio Department of Transportation. If approved, the funding would come from the state's transportation enhancement program.

Officials from the two governments have been trying to establish a trail for pedestrians, bicyclists and others for more than 10 years.

One of the biggest hang-ups has been trying to establish ownership along the right-of-way.

Mary Visco, a Holland council member, said she searched land records 150 years and older trying to discern which entities hold the title.

Mr. Anderson said ownership has been settled, although he still will have to negotiate an easement with First Energy Corp., which has the right-of-way, for about half the length of the proposed trail.

The administrator said there have been preliminary talks with the utility, but specific negotiations have not yet begun.

He said there is a growing interest in trails of this sort and noted that the township's application points out that the trail eventually could connect three area parks, as well as the Holland branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

He said that establishing the trail may also be a stepping stone toward eventually connecting with spurs of the University/Parks Trail to the north and the Wabash Cannonball Trail south of the township. The path could be used by people visiting businesses, particularly at the Holland end of the trail, Mr. Anderson said.

Extensive networks of biking and walking trails aren't developed at once, he noted, but often result from a connection of smaller pieces that are developed over time.

Township and village officials have said they will contribute funds if the state approves the grant application.

Contact Mike Jones at:

mjones@theblade.com

or 419-724-6096.



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