Technology may be in the works soon to help make things easier for those who hike and bike MetroParks, Serving Summit County trails.
A new online effort called the Code for America Summit County Trails Virtual Visitors Center Project would provide information to residents and visitors about the trails and park resources. A phone application is also being considered so maps could be downloaded.
Patrick Bravo, deputy director of community and economic development for the county, said there is a need to improve the online resources for the parks.
“People go to the parks and take pictures of the maps posted with their cellphones because they couldn’t get the information online,” he said. “If a tree falls and blocks off a trail the information could be placed online so people would know to avoid that area.”
Council member Sandra Kurt said it will be nice to be able to use the service in the future to check whether a particular park’s trail is paved or crushed limestone before heading out with the family’s dog.
The project would also let visitors know what amenities each park offers.
Council voted unanimously to approve $25,000 of county funds to put toward the project. Other local agencies, such as the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, the city of Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, have contributed $85,000 to the effort.
The county would be one of 10 selected in the country to participate in the project.
The virtual welcome center and interactive, web-based project for the hiking, bike and water trails in Summit County will cost about $360,000. The bulk of the funding, $250,000, would come from the Knight Foundation.
Bravo said people from technology companies, such as Yahoo and Apple, will be in town for one year to work with local governments on the project.
In other council action, council members took time on appropriating $6.7 million for several projects in the 2013 Capital Improvement Plan. They approved the addition of a road improvement project on Ghent Road and Cleveland-Massillon Road that was not included in the initial plan. The project in Bath Township is still awaiting the arrival of federal funds.
Council also approved the county’s share of $237,440 on a $1.3-million project through the Ohio Department of Transportation. A federal grant will pay for 80 percent of the project or $800,000. The road resurfacing is on Ghent Road from Sourek Road to Cleveland-Massillon Road and on Cleveland-Massillon Road from state Route 18 to Springdale Road.
Council also approved several carryover balances to pay for programs for the balance of the year, such as $689,763 for home weatherization and $1.7 million for various emergency medical assistance and public safety grants.
Jason Dodson, chief of staff to County Executive Russ Pry, said it is routine to carry over balances from the end of the calendar year and reappropriate those funds for the next year.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or email@example.com.