REMINDERVILLE — The village is seeking state funds to be used for a trail connecting the Liberty Ledges subdivision to Summit Metro Parks’ Liberty Park.

The proposed project was outlined to residents Jan. 23, and later that night Village Council authorized OHM Advisors to apply to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a Recreational Trails Program / Clean Ohio Trails grant.

Council also directed Village Engineer Terry R. Bowlin Jr. to design a plan for the trail at a cost not to exceed $6,250.

Bowlin said the cost estimate for the project is $145,510, and the grant — if awarded — would pay $116,408, with the village responsible for $29,102.

"The conceptual design incorporates property directly east of Liberty Ledges that was recently donated to the village," said Bowlin, who noted the village should know this summer about the grant.

Matt Hils of OHM Advisors said if the grant is received, the project could be completed within 15 months.

The trail plan favored by residents who attended the recent meeting is an alternative to two initial proposals — one involving a very high cost and one a low cost.

Hils said the high-end plan, which would cost about $1 million, would have run for about 0.8 miles and included a long bridge to get across a stream.

It would have started off Glenwood Boulevard and connected to the backside of the commercial development along Glenwood, with additional footbridges needed because of difficult slopes and flood plain zones.

The low-end plan, which would cost about $87,000, measured about 0.3 miles and would have begun at Glenway Drive and connected to the Liberty Park Trails in the same location as Plan A.

Village Mayor Sam Alonso indicated the $1 million option would be a no-go for this grant proposal, but is something that could be explored as a next phase option. 

"Phasing would be key to this project," he said.

The compromise plan would create a loop, still connecting at Glenway Drive and running south to the Liberty Park trails. It received positive feedback from residents, with the hope of developing further phases of the trail in the future.

Some residents voiced support for creating a parking lot near the connection point, specifically Glenway Drive.

However, Hils said the plan’s intention is not to develop a parking lot, but to create a connection for surrounding residents to access on foot, use the new trail and gain a more direct access point to Liberty Park.

Some residents questioned the privacy of homeowners near the trail and of trail users. Hils said the goal is limited disturbance for homeowners and to the stream.

Hils indicated that studies elsewhere have found property values have increased because of closer access to trails. A resident estimated roughly 500 people in the neighborhood would have access to the trail.

It was noted that trail maintenance initially would be done by the village’s service department, with the long-term goal of negotiating a deal with Summit Metro Parks to take over responsibility.

Likewise, the village would be liable until an agreement is reached with Summit Metro Parks.

Alonso pointed out Summit Metro Parks is on board with the proposed trail connection, and the connection point was determined based on the park system’s preference.

He said the long-term goal of this project is to develop more trails in the village, and continue to connect them to the Summit Metro Parks system.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com