A trail linking Griggs Road to the Wellington Reservation on Jones Road is being planned by the Lorain County Metro Parks.
Director Jim Ziemnik spoke on that project and others March 28 at a meeting of the Wellington Kiwanis.
Property easements near Griggs Road granted to the county from First Energy Corp. in exchange for easements near Lorain’s steel mill opened the door to create the new trail.
Ziemnik said grant applications to fund the work have been between $50,000 and $75,000.
“We’ve been at this with applications and grants for about three years now,” Ziemnik said. “I think applications should be coming back up again in the summer, so we’ll reapply in the summer and the fall. We’ll get an answer in early February or March. If we’re successful in getting some assistance, we can build in 2020 and 2021.”
“There’s big trail-building initiatives down near Miami and it makes for a really good grant application,” he said. “We’re excited to keep that moving into Northeast Ohio.”
By October 2020, officials hope to finish construction of the Black River Bikeway Trail, a 98-mile stretch that will begin at Lorain’s Spitzer Lakeside Marina before winding through central and southern Lorain County and ending to the west in Elmore, a village lying about 20 miles southeast of Toledo.
“The last pieces of it will be built in 2020,” Ziemnik said. “These are different entities that have built their own pieces like park groups and Toledo Metro Parks. I’d say about 95 percent of the trail is already done. These last two legs are the final push. The piece in Lorain has already been funded and it goes to bid at the end of this year.”
Twenty percent of funding for the final phase of trail construction — roughly $380,000 — comes from Lorain County while the remainder comes from the federal government.
Ziemnik also touched on plans to more easily connect Findley State Park to the Lorain County Fairgrounds, which he said is at least a few years away.
“You head east on Griggs Road and you go right into Findley State Park,” he said. “You connect Findley State Park, come across Griggs, go up the trail system through the reservation to the Wellington Reservoir, and the fairgrounds are right across the tracks at the northern end. Making that connection would help a lot of people.”