There was an update on a Towpath Connector, the Hemlock Trail, in the February issue of Independence Today magazine-
Hemlock Trail engineering reaches midway point
Construction set for 2017
by Laura Straub
Years in the planning, the construction of Hemlock Trail will finally be underway in 2017, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trails fund. The city will have to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the trail.
Independence Vice Mayor David Grendel said the ODNR grant only covers about one-third of the total funding needed to complete the trail, and that money must be used within 18 months of signing.
“We’re going to keep working on different grants that are available,” he said. The city plans to use the naming rights to generate additional funds, as well as save money by completing the project within one construction season and work with the national parks forestry division to remove trees in the path of the trail, Grendel said.
Grendel, former chair of the city council public lands and buildings committee, said engineering for the trail began last year, is about 48 percent finished, and should be completed by the end of 2016. The city will begin putting out bids for trail construction in January 2017 and plans to have them in by that March. Construction should be completed by the close of construction season next year.
“We’re working hard to make sure engineering is done in 2016, construction is done in 2017, and the trail is open in 2018,” Grendel said.
Donald Ramm, Independence city engineer, said the 1.85-mile Hemlock Trail will begin at the intersection of Brecksville Road and Selig Drive, and end on Stone Road, at the connection with the Towpath Trail on Canal Road, in Valley View.
“It’s not going to be a straight shot; it’s going to be almost snakelike,” Grendel said. “It goes along the northern rim of the Hemlock Creek ravine, and it will cut southeast from the Cleveland Clinic property. Once it gets past the technology center, it’s basically due east for a stretch, then it goes south- west to Brecksville Road again.”
The trail will cross through private, industrial and national park properties. As the path is designed, engineers are working with the CVNP, the village of Valley View, local sand and gravel supplier DiGeronimo Aggregates, and Dick Pace of the Independence Technology Center, Grendel said.
When it comes to curves and slope, trail design will include special consideration to make it workable for bicyclists. Grendel said there will be up to 15 parking spots for drivers who come there with bikes to use the trail.
Engineers and construction workers will restore two bridges that cross over the Cuyahoga River, and one bridge over the Hemlock River.
“They were originally strong enough to hold car traffic, so we should be able to refurbish [the bridges],” Grendel said.
Grendel said Hemlock Trail, which will give Independence residents a new place to walk, run and bike, will be worth the cost.
“It’s going to be a nice addition to the amenities that we offer to our residents, from a recreation standpoint,” he said.