The Delaware County Trails Committee agreed on the top five trails Wednesday they would recommend to commissioners to begin development. The committee narrowed the list from 14 other trails with the Ohio to Erie ranked first.
“It doesn’t mean it can’t happen sooner for others if there is funding available,” said Jenna Jackson, economic development coordinator.
Jackson said in a majority of the meetings with stakeholders for the county’s economic plan last year residents talked of having a county trail system that would connect communities.
“That’s what kind of got us thinking about this,” Jackson said. “After meeting with a lot of the jurisdictions, I think they’ve been pretty happy about someone looking at this. It can help them with grants since it’s part of the mutual trail system.”
Jackson said the committee was formed last year in November and wasn’t given a defined task or directions to what the finished product was to look like.
“We’ve kind of just been, where are we going to take this project?” Jackson said. “This has probably been bigger than we realized.”
The committee develop a ranking system for scoring the trails in the order of importance. The question of how the trail is used, how it connected communities and the cost to build it became the basic criteria for the ranking system.
“There is the one percent that will bike down anything,” said Matt Simpson, of Preservation Parks. “Thirty percent of the people out there will not bike on a trail. They just don’t bike, they don’t like it.”
Simpson said that the 60 percent group is the committee’s target group.
Len Fisher, an appointed resident by commissioners, said hardcore bikers won’t use multi-use trails. He said they prefer the streets.
“I think it’s important that we build trails that have some kind of length to them so people can use them,” Fisher said,
Fisher is an Orange Township resident and gave an example of the trails in the township.
“Along Old State road where the township was requiring trails to be put in when they built the golf course,” he said. “So they only built two or three blocks and stopped. What a waste of money that is. Then they widen the road and tore them up. That was nuts.”
The committee agreed to meet one more time before giving their results to commissioners for any changes.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.