Local agency investing millions to improve trails
The Miami Conservancy District plans to invest more than $5 million to improve and expand local trails. The agency said the improvements will extend the life of the trails for several decades.
Sarah Hippensteel Hall, manager of watershed partnerships with the conservancy district, said the funding will benefit both recreationalists and commuters in the region.
"We strongly believe that our bike trails are an asset, not just for having fun and getting your family out on the weekends, but that they are also consistently used as an alternative transportation route for community members to get to and from their places of work or school," Hippensteel Hall said.
Hippensteel Hall said the money will be used to build new trails, resurface or reconstruct existing trails, provide safety upgrades and ADA-compliant curb ramps and add amenities at several of the trail sites.
Specific projects include building a new 14-ft wide trail along the south side of the Great Miami River, connecting Old North Dayton near Heid Avenue to the Great Miami River Recreation Trail and reconstructing and widening. Additionally, 1.37 miles of the Miami River recreation trail between East River Road in Moraine to Stewart Street in Dayton.
Another project will repair and resurface a 1.45-mile section of the Stillwater River Trail between the Gayle B. Price Bridge near Island Metro Park and Wegerzyn Road.
The funding will also be used to improve trail access across busy city streets in five locations along the river recreation trail, making the crosswalks more visible, adding signage and ADA-compliant curb ramps.
The district is using a combination of its own money and federal funds that came to them through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to pay for the trail improvements.
MCD’s primary work is to protect communities along the Great Miami River from flooding. The agency was created following the Great Dayton Flood in 1913 — the 110th anniversary of that flood is this week. But its mission also includes promoting enjoyment of waterways in the Great Miami watershed.
"We believe that people who enjoy our communities and enjoy our public spaces are more likely to care for them," Hippensteel Hall said. “So we've been building bike trails since the seventies."
Hippensteel Hall finished by saying the Miami Valley’s regional trail system is one of the nation’s largest paved trail networks.
Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.