Parks works with MORPC on plans


The Berlin Township Parks and Trails Committee worked with the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission in 2023 to get a step closer to its goals. Here are some highlights of last year’s meetings:

• It was announced at the Jan. 18 meeting that Berlin Township was chosen as one of the recipients of the MORPC Technical Assistance Program for 2023. MORPC would do research and then present a plan.

• At the March 15 meeting, a list of stakeholders was drawn up for MORPC. A workshop with the stakeholders was scheduled for May 17. There was hope that the Parks and Trails Master Plan would be completed before the township’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, which was in the process of being updated.

• The stakeholders (some of whom are listed below) attended the May 17 workshop and provided input following a PowerPoint presentation. A second workshop was scheduled.

• The second workshop on July 19, like the first, was led by Jonathan Miller from MORPC. Other attendees included Lauren Cardoni and Jeremiah Commey with MORPC, Jackie Haight with SourcePoint, Josie Bonnette and Abbey Trimble with Delaware County Health District, Berlin resident Andy Lucas, Jason Meyers with Alum Creek State Park, John Wargo an Alum Creek user, Brad Fisher with Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, Berlin High School cross country coach Anthony Beggrow and Brown Township Trustee Connie Skinner.

“Miller said Berlin Township is well suited for a trail or path network and that it would be substantially used… Berlin Twp. does not have many existing multiuse trails (MUTs), with just over 4 miles of disjointed and/or exclusively internal trails. They provide a good opportunity to build upon as the township grows,” minutes said.

“MORPC proposed route locations along Rt. 36/37, Cheshire Road, Shanahan Road, Hollenback Road, Piatt Road, Lackey Old State and Old State Roads, Africa Road, and the utilization of high voltage power easements. Mr. Miller explained that side paths, MUTs that run parallel to roads, are preferred. A few segments would need to include on-street facilities, either a dedicated or buffered bike lane. These include Cheshire Road and Rt. 36/37 causeways and bridges, and potentially any locations along Lackey Old State Road, Old State Road, and Africa Road that cross tributaries… Alum Creek State Park is completing a natural trail along Africa Road and would also like to eventually include a paved trail around the lake that would allow for collaborations. Mr. Miller said it’s important for Berlin Township to consider connections through future developments.”

• Parks and Trails next met Sept. 20. Miller said no major changes had been made to the report given at the prior meeting. He noted that Cheshire Road would likely be part of a Central Ohio Greenways (COG) Vision Trails. Raehll “asked about private entity partnerships like SourcePoint on Cheshire Road.” Representatives from Safe Routes to School can also walk an area students may use to walk to a school, and make recommendations, particularly in an area like Piatt Road. Easements with AEP around high-voltage lines could also help establish trailways.

“Miller said another recommendation is to create the relationships and partnerships needed to complete multijurisdictional projects. This will help acquire the funding to complete a lot of these projects. He suggested partnerships with Alum Creek State Park, Delaware County Engineers Office, AEP, City of Delaware, Olentangy Local School District… If the committee wanted to apply for the Reconnecting Communities grant, the trail proposed on North Old State connecting into Kilbourne would be a good project to include, focusing on the economic development potential of Kilbourne.”

• The committee also met on Nov. 15, where they elected officers, and reviewed grant opportunities with the MORPC Walk Audit Program, COG and Ohio Department of Transportation’s Safe Travel plans.

In 2023, the committee consisted of President Zach Brown, Vice President Hillary Cerny, Eileen Faulds, Summer Hayes, Secretary Christina Littleton, Colynda Lucas, and Mark Rowland. Trustee Meghan Raehll also attends the meetings. In the course of the Sept. 20 meeting, Raehll said “the lot next to the fire station … is a site to potentially build a new township hall.”

“The Parks and Trails committee acts as an advisory body to the Board of Trustees regarding matters concerning the development, planning, and use of the parks, trails, and recreational areas located within Berlin Township,” said the township website. “The committee convened for the first time in early 2022. Currently, there are no township-maintained parks or trails.”

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak photographs and reports on stories in eastern Delaware County and surrounding areas.

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