Monroe is moving ahead with grant applications to submit to trails programs administered by the state of Ohio to be used for the construction of the city’s portion of the Great Miami River Recreation Trail.
City Council recently approved city officials to apply to the state’s Recreational Trails Program and/or the Clean Ohio Trails Fund that are available to local communities to improve outdoor recreational opportunities to Ohioans by funding trails for outdoor pursuits of all kinds, said City Manager Bill Brock.
Brock said the city can be reimbursed up to 75 percent or up to $500,000 in matching Clean Ohio Trail Funds and up to 80 percent or up to $150,000 in matching Recreational Trail Program grant funding. The grants are typically awarded by the state in late fall.
He said for both funding programs, all projects must be completed within 15 months from the date that they are signed into contract. Eligible projects include: land acquisition for a trail, trail development, trailhead facilities, engineering and design.
“If we were awarded, staff anticipates that the construction would need to be completed by mid 2020 to take advantage of the grant funds,” Brock said.
Brock said the city’s development staff is looking to apply for the grant assistance to construct Monroe’s portion of about two miles of the trail now that the city has acquired the Bicentennial Commons Park area, formerly known as Americana amusement park and LeSourdsville Lake.
“With the donation of the Bicentennial Commons land, the majority of property along the Great Miami Trail is essentially owned by a government organization including Monroe, MetroParks of Butler County, or the Miami Conservancy District,” he said.
Council has previously approved engineering and surveying costs for the trail and the estimated construction cost is $1.3 million to $1.4 million depending on alternatives.
Brock said staff is currently not requesting funding for the portion of the trail outside of the city limits that continues along the old Crystal Tissue paper property terminating at South Main Street in the Excello area.
Brock said without the continuation of the trail to a logical trailhead in the South Main Street area, it could hurt Monroe’s potential funding award. He said if council wishes to endorse this area, Monroe can attempt to include it as well. Brock said both MetroParks and MCD are supportive of the project and will be providing letters of support for the grant application.