The Hamilton County parks district joins other parks-district members of Miami County Park District, Five Rivers MetroParks and MetroParks of Butler County. Locally, cities that are members include Hamilton, Middletown, Franklin and Miamisburg.
In 1972, the first paved mile of the Great Miami river trail was built in Troy. In 1976, another eight miles were built in Dayton’s downtown. In the 1980s, Hamilton built its section along the river. Biking and hiking paths now are nearly complete from Hamilton to Sidney, with only small gaps remaining, and those have plans for construction.
“That’s led to about 340 miles of connected paved trail in our region,” Foley said.
Inclusion of a Cincinnati-area organization increases the likelihood that more day tourists will visit Hamilton, Middletown and other areas of Butler County for paddling, biking, shopping and dining or visits to such places as Municipal Brew Works.
The Hamilton County parks “have shown us some great examples of land reuse that I think we can replicate in other parts of the riverway,” said Foley, a former Montgomery County commissioner. “For example, they have a couple former gravel pits — we have a lot of those along the Great Miami River — that have been repurposed into public park spaces. So we think we can learn from what they’ve done.”
The Hamilton County parks also can help with marketing, including to Cincinnati-area residents, Foley said.