Most people who submitted comments about the proposed Hamilton Beltline bike path are in favor of the project to re-purpose the former CSX rail corridor and rail yard.
The city conducted a two-week comment period that ended Jan. 30, said City Clerk Nicholas Garuckas. He said the city received 33 comments with 26 respondents saying they were generally in favor of the project. There were six respondents against it and one was neutral and just had different thoughts and comments, Garuckas said.
“Most of the comments were statements of support that they would like to see this project completed or that they would like to use the trail,” he said via email.
Garuckas said most of the comments had to do with safety, maintenance and privacy.
Among the issues raised in the comments were questions about privacy fences for those who live near the trail; concerns regarding people who are going onto the rail line property and leaving garbage; concerns about who will patrol the trail and whether security cameras should be installed; and a suggestion to install a blue light phone system at key places on the trail for security and emergencies.
Garuckas said a report on the comments and an update on the project will be made to Hamilton City Council in February. He said the potential sale of the CSX property could take place this summer, and more information will be included in the report to City Council.
Last week, City Council unanimously approved a resolution to file an application with the Ohio of Natural Resources for a Clean Ohio Recreational Trails Fund grant. If approved, it would allow the city to pursue an additional outside funding opportunity towards the construction of Phase 1 of the proposed Beltline Recreational Trail.
Hamilton is seeking a $500,000 grant in which 25 percent or $125,000 would be the city’s contribution. The estimated costs for the project, including a 15 percent contingency, is projected to be $990,000, according to a staff report submitted by Garuckas to council.
The Beltline runs off CSX’s main line from Millville Avenue to the former Champion Paper Mill.
CSX has previously filed for abandonment of the rail line, and city officials have requested a stay in the abandonment proceedings to allow time to evaluate productive re-use of the line.
Plans for this land include building a recreational bike path to connect residents on the west side of Hamilton to the riverfront area and a variety of other amenities. Additionally, the city is considering the possibility of constructing a bridge over Two Mile Creek where the former rail bridges currently stand.