Fairfield seeks funds to help connect residents to more trails

City will request $1.75 million in grant funds for project that could happen in 2026.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fairfield hopes to land a pair of Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Government grants to improve trail connectivity within the city.

Earlier this week, City Council approved the city manager to apply for the OKI grant applications for a pair of projects. The first of the two would be installing nearly 6,800 feet of new trail along Pleasant Avenue, from Hunter Road to Wessel Drive. The trail would help connect people and neighborhoods to jobs and amenities along the corridor, said Public Works Director Ben Mann.

“It will establish a connected corridor for multi-modal transportation,” he said. “The city intends this to be part of a transformational trail plan linking the Great Miami River Trail, Fairfield’s signature parks, and our City Center together.”

The city is seeking $1.75 million Surface Transportation Block Grant Funding from OKI, which is about 70% of the total project amount. Fairfield’s matching share would be $750,000, and if the funding is approved, the project would be scheduled to bid in 2026 or 2027.

This project would come after planned work on Pleasant Avenue in the city’s Town Center. Later this year, the city will lead the Reigert Square improvement project, where there will be streetscaping improvements along with the parking lot being resurfaced.

In 2024, the city will have a water line construction project ahead of the 2025 the repaving of Pleasant Avenue from Patterson Boulevard to Hunter Road.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The city will also seek another OKI grant for the continuation of the Great Miami River Trail. This funding would help connect the trail, which ends at Waterworks Park, and add 7,400 feet of new trail.

“This phase would allow the path to be accessed directly by a considerable portion of the city’s residential population without driving, connect the trail through Marsh Park to the new dog park and trailhead, and allow for future expansion into Hamilton County.”

If the OKI funding is approved, the project would be scheduled for 2026 or 2027, with the engineering for the project in 2024 or 2025.

Mann said this pot of OKI federal money, which would be Transportation Alternative Funding, is competitive as many communities are looking to install trails. This grant “is a pretty big want,” Mann said and why the city’s offering to split the $1.5 million cost 50-50.

The Great Miami River Trail, which starts in Piqua, is nearly complete. There are a couple of gaps besides in Fairfield, including in Lemon Twp., Monroe, and Rentschler Forest MetroPark in Fairfield Twp.

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