The city of Lebanon is planning to spend $650,000 to extend a recreational trail through downtown to the north side of the city, part of the area’s effort to connect the public with coming developments.
The trail would follow roads through downtown onto the Aylor-Cook Nature Trail before connecting back onto Broadway up to Lebanon Junior High School.
The trail is expected to serve residents and customers of the proposed North Broadway Commons and help stretch the downtown north to the Warren County Fairgrounds.
“This would get the trail up to Miller Road and the junior high,” City Manager Scott Brunka said on Tuesday during a presentation on the plan.
The city council backed Brunka’s plan to apply for a state grant from the Clean Ohio Fund to pay for 75 percent of the project, costing $487,500, according to projections. The city would pay for the rest of the project, to be built in 2020.
“The project also satisfies a contingency item in the 511 N. Broadway Ave. development agreement,” Casey Burdick, the city’s recreation and natural resources coordinator, said in a council summary.
Last week, the council approved a development contract with developer Jim Cohen for the $18 million, mixed-use North Broadway Commons project at 511 N. Broadway. Cohen is to build 104 apartments and up to 15,000 square feet of retail space, where two restaurants and a brewpub have committed to open storefronts.
The trail extension is to begin where the existing trail currently ends on South Street, near the tourist train station, follow “sharrows” — lanes marked for bike or pedestrian use — up to an unpaved trail head behind Berry Middle School.
Turning back onto Broadway, just north of the redevelopment, the trail is to pass in front of the fairgrounds, where the county is building an event center, up to Miller Road, near the city’s northern boundary.
“It’s part and parcel of what it is that makes these mixed-use developments successful. It makes them pedestrian friendly,” Cohen said on Wednesday.
Cohen pointed to similar projects in Milford, Hamilton and Loveland as examples of the importance of people being able to travel there on foot, bike or roller blades.
“The easier it is for them to get there, the better it is,” Cohen said.