Hamilton, MetroParks working together on Miami 2 Miami bike trail

Butler County MetroParks and the county’s largest city will work together to create segments of the Miami 2 Miami Regional Bike Trail, even building parts of the bicycle path on each other’s property to help the project’s progress.

“The eventual goal of the project is to connect the Great Miami River Trail to the Little Miami River Trail, and have it run through Hamilton,” City Clerk Nick Garuckas, who has been leading bicycle-trail projects for the city, told council members before they approved a resolution.

The trail will allow local residents to ride to Dayton or Cincinnati, and will let Cincinnatians and Dayton residents ride to the other city, “bringing in more tourism to our area,” Garuckas said.

“We partnered with MetroParks,” which have received funding through state capital grants, Garuckas said. The city will build a 0.72-mile section of the bike trail in Gilmore MetroPark, from Bilstein Boulevard to Gilmore Road in 2022-2023.

MetroParks, meanwhile, plans to build an 0.84-mile segment from the Ohio 4 Bypass to Bilstein, he said.

“We did some horse-trading there,” Garuckas said. “They are going to build some of the trail on city-owned land, and we’re going to build some on MetroParks land.”

Hamilton’s council unanimously approved a resolution accepting responsibility for Hamilton to serve as the local public agency responsible for administering the project, and giving the city manager authority to execute contracts with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the bicycle path.

The coordination between the city and MetroParks comes at a time when the Butler County Transportation Improvement District has agreed to meet with local governments to help continue progress on the Great Miami River bicycle path.

One 0.6-mile section of the Great Miami River Trail originally was scheduled to be finished this year, but has been delayed. It initially was funded partly with a Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant, with the rest with local money.

But MetroParks recently received federal funds administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation, said Kelly Barkley, with the MetroParks of Butler County.

“This new grant will reduce the amount of local funds spent on the project, and will expand the project scope to include trail access and parking improvements, which were not eligible for funding under the original Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant,” Barkley said.

“Due to the additional approvals that will be required to receive this federal funding the project completion date has been pushed back until sometime in 2020,” she said. “While all trail lovers are anxious for access to this section of trail the delay will be worth the wait with the additional amenities made possible by obtaining the second grant.”

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