Hudson -- Council members were surprised design costs for a trail were higher than expected.

The design for Phase III of the Veterans Trail which extends from downtown to Barlow Road will cost $250,000 for the design, according to City Engineer Thomas Sheridan.

"This goes along where we already have a trail," said Council President Hal DeSaussure. "I was shocked by the price for something like that."

Sheridan said when their first choice for the project wouldn't come down on the price, they went with their second choice, Michael Baker out of Pittsburgh.

"It's the going rate according to the Ohio Department of Transportation for this project because of the wetlands, National Environmental Policy Act and other requirements to satisfy federal guidelines," Sheridan said. "ODOT is comfortable with $250,000."

The $1.1 million construction phase will be split between a $500,000 federal grant and the city's costs of $600,000, Sheridan said. The money is in the Park Department's budget.

Sheridan said his engineering staff does the most in-house work for cities in the area, but the staff doesn't have all the qualifications for federal projects.

"We can do some components but not all," Sheridan said. "We would spend $140,000 still for expertise we don't have in-house."

Because the ODOT deadline for beginning construction is July 2018, Sheridan said the staff doesn't have the resources to do the work in a short time period.

The costs for design consultants has increased, said City Manager Jane Howington.

"We've been looking at ways to save money," Howington said.

The timing to do this project in-house is wrong, Howington said. It takes time to hire someone and train them and bring them up to speed.

"$250,000 blew me away," said Council member Dan Williams. "It's unfortunate we're not a couple years down the road and would have more in-house capability to eliminate some of these costs. We bite the bullet and spend the money. I don't see an alternative."

The Barlow Road trail is under design now and would be completed in the spring, Sheridan said.

It would connect to the bike trail at Barlow and Terex roads in the west, he said. In order to go east, the trail required hole 9 on the Ellsworth Meadows Golf Club to be moved so golfers would not hit toward hikers and bikers on the trail.

Dirt from Boston Mills Road is being added at the railroad tracks on Barlow Road to widen it for a trail along the north side of the road, Sheridan said.

The city is trying to coordinate the trail work with the developer of an inn to be built on Barlow Road where the trail will continue toward the east.

Council members were confused about a waiver given to the hotel regarding the trail. New developments must include sidewalks or in this case, a portion of the planned trail path. Council member Alex Kelemen thought the waiver was to eliminate the developer's responsibility to build the trail, but Williams said it was a waiver of time so they could build the trail section on their time table.

Communications Manager Jody Roberts said Jan. 12 the developer recently had asked for a waiver on building the sidewalk on the north side of Barlow in front of the proposed hotel after the previously granted approvals expired.

"They were not given a waiver for that sidewalk and will be responsible for putting one in," Roberts said. "There is a yet undeveloped area to the east of the hotel, and the sidewalk on that portion will be required at a later date, but not now."

The building and site plan remain the same, but the hotel will be part of the Choice Hotels system instead of Wallhouse Inn, Roberts said.

City Council will look at the trail again in February when the design plan is scheduled to be presented.


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Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP