Hamilton opens latest phase of Beltline biking and walking trail

Phase 2 of the Hamilton Beltline Recreation Trail opened earlier this month. Phase 3 is underway, and the Hamilton Parks Conservancy District is seeking funding for Phase 4. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Phase 2 of the Hamilton Beltline Recreation Trail opened earlier this month. Phase 3 is underway, and the Hamilton Parks Conservancy District is seeking funding for Phase 4. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

BUTLER COUNTY — Hamilton’s state lawmaker called Ohio’s biennial capital budget like Christmas for communities around the state, and Phase 2 of the Beltline Recreational Trail was one of the city’s presents.

“The capital budget, for me, is like Christmas,” said Ohio Rep. Sarah Carruthers, R-Hamilton. “It is times when we can use the funds, our state funds, to do exciting things like this for our communities.”

Leaders with the Hamilton Parks Conservancy and the city of Hamilton helped dedicate the Phase 2 opening of the multi-phase Beltline Recreational Trail, which was funded by the state capital grant. This second phase stretches from Cleveland Avenue to North B Street.

Darke County-based Brumbaugh Construction constructed Phase 2, and they were also the contractor for the project’s Phase 1, which runs from Eaton to Cleveland avenues. Partners with the project include CSX, the former owner of the Beltline track, and the Miami Conservancy District, which owns some of the property close to the Great Miami River.

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Hamilton Beltline Recreational Trail phase 2 is open for the public to enjoy. Phase 3 is under design and is expected to be under construction in 2023. TV HAMILTON/PROVIDED

Credit: TVHamilton

Hamilton Beltline Recreational Trail phase 2 is open for the public to enjoy. Phase 3 is under design and is expected to be under construction in 2023. TV HAMILTON/PROVIDED

Credit: TVHamilton

Combined ShapeCaption
Hamilton Beltline Recreational Trail phase 2 is open for the public to enjoy. Phase 3 is under design and is expected to be under construction in 2023. TV HAMILTON/PROVIDED

Credit: TVHamilton

Credit: TVHamilton

“Both sections came in under budget, and you don’t hear that very much,” said Messer of phases 1 and 2 of the Beltline trail.

Phase 3 heads from North B Street south along the top of the levee and next Spooky Nook convention center and hotel to the High-Main Bridge. It is now in the design phase, said Hamilton Senior Civil Engineer Allen Messer, and is expected to be under construction in 2023.

They’re seeking funding for Phase 4, which will go from Eaton Avenue to Main Street.

In all for the project, Messer said there have been eight grants totaling $2.8 million, including the grant from the 2020 biennial capital grant.

The Hamilton Beltline Recreational Trail is designed to transform the abandoned rail line used by the former Champion Mill paper plant into a 3-mile recreational trail loop navigating the city’s neighborhoods.

“Additions like this to the city is what drew me to this position and this area to work,” said Hamilton Parks Conservancy Executive Director Adam Cornett. “I love seeing the impact these (additions) have on the community, and they’re just invaluable. And seeing this progress is going to continue, that bodes well for the direction the city’s going in, the relationship they have with parks, and the citizens that live here.”

Cornett said maintenance of the trail will be like every park and golf course managed by the parks conservancy, and the Hamilton Run Club has adopted the trail, and will assist with large cleanup efforts throughout the year.

Carruthers said she wants to see more projects like the Beltline happen in Hamilton, her hometown.

“I want to see more things like this in our community,” she said. “More things were everybody can use them and enjoy them, especially when we have something as awful as COVID, things like this were used, and we need things that are exciting, that bring families together, that bring friends together.”

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