Recently state legislators joined with local organizations for Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus tour of the upper portion of the Towpath Trail. The tour, organized by Canalway Partners Executive Director Tim Donovan and Buckeye Trail Association President Steve Walker, provided participants an opportunity to see how the development of the Towpath Trail is transforming the Cuyahoga River Valley, integrating a green buffer between a growing residential district (Tremont) and the nearby heavy industrial and commercial facilities while providing a hiking and biking experience for the public.
Ohio State Senators Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) and Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta), and Ohio House Representative Kent Smith (Euclid) and others toured of stage 3 of the Towpath Trail starting at the Steel Heritage Center at Steelyard Commons, working their way north through Stage 3’s:
- Clark Fields
- Towpath Mounds
- The southeastern edge of Tremont
- The Innerbelt Overlook
- Scranton Flats
- Canal Basin Park
One of several stops on the walk was the in-process Clark Fields redevelopment. For those familiar with the previous layout, a lot of changes are coming. Here’s an update from Jim McNight, Senior Landscape Architect for the City of Cleveland.
The next stop on the walk was the Towpath Mounds. Environmental Design Group’s Jeff Kerr provided some background on the thinking behind the design that transformed the site from a transportation project to a cultural infrastructure project.
Sens. Wilson and O’Brien are co-chairs of a recently created Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus that was created as a way of bringing together a bipartisan group of like-minded Ohio legislators to collaborate on outdoor and trails-related issues. At the end of the tour, Sen Wilson shared a few thoughts.
Sen. O’Brien added: “Ohio is home to more than 3,500 miles of trails that are used for a variety of activities including walking, biking, horseback riding, rolling and paddling. Not only do these pathways provide significant economic and environmental benefits, but they are also an important feature in helping to improve Ohioans’ quality of life, encouraging community connections and promoting a healthy lifestyle. As co-chair of the Ohio Legislative Trails Caucus, I look forward to continuing to work hard to make sure Ohio’s trails system remains the best it can be for years to come.”
Canalway Partners’ Tim Donovan reflected on the impact of the day’s walk. “I want to thank the many representatives who joined us on the Towpath Trek with our state legislators. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.”
Buckeye Trail Association President Steve Walker came away from the walk with a renewed appreciation for the Towpath Trail. “The trails in Ohio are very diverse and I was pleasantly surprised at the amazing views that we saw from Steelyard Commons to the proposed Canal Basin Park. It’s proof that a wonderful trail experience can happen in an urban industrial, commercial and residential setting.”
Walker and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Trails Coordinator Tom Arbour had a couple of things to say at the end of the day. And here’s the link to the survey where ODNR Trails would like your feedback on how you currently use trails and what you’d like to see in the future: http://trails.ohiodnr.gov/survey