Summit County trail supporters Thursday celebrated the completion of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the county, then announced plans for eight regional trails with a total price tag of $46 million.
The announcement by the Summit County Trails program came at a daylong forum that drew 100 people to Goodyear Heights Metro Park in East Akron.
Dan Rice of the Akron-based Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition called on those in attendance to be just as passionate and hardworking about building the new trails, many of which will connect to the Towpath Trail. The trail-building effort will continue to rely heavily on partnerships, he said.
“We’ve made significant progress, but we’re not done. We’re just getting started,” Rice said.
Trails add to the quality of life locally and are an economic driver, Summit County Executive Russ Pry said.
Of the new regional trails, the Freedom Trail that will stretch 8.5 miles from Akron through Tallmadge to Kent is the furthest along. A 4.5-mile section from Southwest Avenue in Tallmadge to Middlebury Road in Kent is expected to open next month. Completing the remaining 4 miles will take until 2016. The total price tag is $3.5 million. The project is being directed by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.
Other new trail projects are:
• Veterans Trail, 13 miles from Akron through Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Silver Lake to Hudson, with a 6.5-mile extension to Boston Heights on the Heights to Hudson Trail. Total price: $12.5 million. Construction could begin next year in Hudson and will probably take until 2020.
• Tuscarawas River Trail, 20 miles from Akron and Coventry Township through the Portage Lakes. Price: $2.5 million. Planned for construction from 2015 to 2020.
• Pigeon Creek/Wolf Creek Trail, 16 miles in Barberton, Fairlawn, Norton and Copley Township. Price: $2.5 million. Planned for construction from 2014 to 2018.
• Ohio-to-Erie Trail, village of Clinton, 10 miles. Construction from 2013 to 2017. Price: $5 million.
• Mud Brook Trail, 6 miles in Stow and Cuyahoga Falls. Price: $4 million. No construction dates listed.
• Gorge Trail, 6 miles in Akron and Cuyahoga Falls. Price: $5 million. Construction from 2014 to 2018.
• Gateway Trail, 2 miles from Boston Heights to Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Construction from 2013 to 2016. Price: $1.5 million.
• Cuyahoga River Trail, 25 miles of water trail for paddlers in Summit County, with additional miles extending into Cuyahoga, Portage and Geauga counties. No construction dates announced. Price: $2 million.
• Brandywine Creek Trail, 7 miles in Northfield, Boston Heights and Macedonia. Price: $4 million. Construction set for 2015.
Officials of the coalition that manages the trail program for Summit County expect to finalize the latest draft trail plan by the end of the year.
To date, the Summit County program has helped build 53 miles of trails and planned/designed 113.5 miles of trails and conserved 350 acres of green space.
From 2002 to 2012, the county has awarded 74 trails grants totaling $1.5 million that generated an additional $21.7 million in federal, state, local and private funding.
For more information, contact Debby Rolland at 330-374-5657. You also can go to www.ohioeriecanal.org.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or email@example.com.