Columbus to spend $8.7 million on trail upgrades

The city of Columbus will add two significant pieces -- and 6.25 miles overall -- to its system of bikeway trails this year.
Included in the $8.7 million in planned 2013 improvements to city trails is the 3.5-mile extension of the Camp Chase Rail Trail, a $1.6 million project that will connect to the Ohio to Erie Trail, completing a 160-mile section of continuous path from Columbus to Cincinnati.
When the northern section is complete, the statewide trail will be more than 260 miles as it stretches from Cincinnati to Cleveland.
"I think we are beyond excited about the Camp Chase trail improvements because of what it does," said Terri Leist, an assistant director with the city's Recreation and Parks Department. "It allows that connection to Cincinnati via Dayton, via Yellow Springs and every little town along the trail."
Another substantial addition is the Alum Creek Trail, which completes the two final segments near Ohio Dominican University to Easton, creating 22 miles of seamless trail from Westerville to Obetz.
Leist said the $4.4 million project achieves a milestone because it completes the city's section of that portion of the trail system.
"I think what's really great about the completion of the Alum Creek Trail is that it connects so many neighborhoods," she said. "It's not only park-to-park connections but it's people-to-people connections because it connects people to neighborhoods."
There's good news for urbanites, too: The city will build a new connection at Goodale Street that will give residents of Harrison West and Victorian Village direct access to the Olentangy Trail.
This year's improvement plan includes short trail connections to the Alum Creek and Scioto trails. Also, the city will begin planning for a 4.5-mile extension of the Big Walnut Trail between Three Creeks Metro Park and Refugee Road on the Southeast Side.
Leist said the 2013 program will add 6.25 miles to the city's 67-mile trail system.
"The city of Columbus continues to be committed to construction of these trails throughout our city to connect ourselves to our neighboring communities for the health and wellness of our citizens," Leist said.