Middletown’s River Center project, bike path takes step forward

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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This selfie is for the HJN story slugged in SCC as HJN 050716 bike path

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The proposed $1.2 million River Center project on the edge of downtown Middletown took a step forward last week when City Council approved the transfer of Bicentennial Commons and the AK Pavilion to MetroParks of Butler County.

In addition to transferring the park and pavilion, council also released its conditional use easement from the Miami Conservancy District.

“In return, Butler MetroParks agrees to keep the park open to the public unless there is specific park programming, and they agree to keep all named amenities and to provide maintenance to all existing items in Bicentennial Commons for a minimum of 20 years,” City Manager Doug Adkins told council.

According to MetroParks, the River Center will will serve as a hub for those who walk, run and bike along the Great Miami River Recreation Trail .

The location of the River Center will allow trail users to access businesses in resurgent downtown Middletown, MetroParks officials have previously said.

The facility will include public restrooms in addition to meeting and educational spaces. It will also serve as home base for the MetroParks volunteer Trail Ambassador Program beginning in the fall and as a sub-station for MetroParks public safety staff.

This new addition to the local landscape is adjacent to the nine-mile section of the Great Miami River Recreation Trail, a bicycle and pedestrian path that runs parallel to the river and is managed by MetroParks.

Final costs and a construction start date will be determined once building plans are finalized.

Franklin/Middletown link slated for construction in 2020

Just past the traffic light at Ohio 73 and North Breiel Boulevard, the GMRRT ends. However, federal funding has been programmed through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments to connect the 1.4-mile link between Middletown and Franklin.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at nearly $1.9 million.

“OKI is funding 80 percent of the Middletown side in 2020. MVRPC is funding 80 percent of the Franklin side in 2020,” Adkins said. “The two cities have to come up with the remaining 20 percent for their sides.”

Both cities plan to work together on grants and donation to fill as much of the remaining funding needed, according to Adkins.

Scott Tadych, Middletown’s city engineer, said the city’s portion is about 3,200 feet that will cost an estimated $700,000, with the city’s portion of that estimated at $156,700.

Franklin City Manager Sonny Lewis said the Franklin portion, about 60 percent of the project, would be nearly $1.18 million in which the city would have to provide $253,000 as its local match.

From Baxter Drive in Franklin, the proposed route would go south along Ohio 73 to just north of the intersection of North Breiel Boulevard.

“Things will ramp up when it gets connected to Middletown,” Lewis said. “And the hard-core riders will try to go from Hamilton to Troy. It will also enhance our river opportunities here in Franklin.”

Staff Writer Mike Rutledge contributed to this report.

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