The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has awarded Orange Township a $489,750 grant from the Clean Ohio Trail Fund.
Beth Hugh, maintenance and park director, said the funds will pay for construction of a new trail from Waukeegan Avenue to Bale Kenyon Road along Lewis Center Road.
“We’ve been working with COTF to design the plans for the trail,” said Hugh. “Construction will be finished this year.”
According to Hugh, the township’s trails currently total 16.6 miles.
Hugh said the development of the design plans, the land survey for individual utility poles, and topographical mapping for a distance measurement is included in the cost of construction.
According to a spreadsheet provided by Hugh, the park department has been awarded 15 grants with only three denials since 2008. The total amount of funds awarded is $4.1 million. The spreadsheet also includes a donation of $22,000 which is part of that total.
The roads department has benefited from grants as well, totaling $1.2 million to date.
Hugh is only one-half of the grant-writing team. Her co-author is Scott Overturf, owner of RPO LLC, an independent contractor hired by the township not only to co-author grants, but to oversee the township’s projects from design to completion.
The renewal of Overturf’s two-year contract was discussed at the Jan. 22 trustees meeting, but trustees tabled the renewal until the Feb. 5 meeting for further discussion and possible action.
Hugh said they are working on two other grants to submit this year. The funds will help construct a trail along Lewis Center Road to the entrance of the beach at Alum Creek and another trail along Lewis Center Road and North Road leading into the new North Road Park.
North Road Park is a 22-acre property currently under construction that will be home to soccer fields, concessions, parking for up to 300 vehicles, a pond with running water, a one-mile trail around its perimeter, and a cricket field.
Hugh said the grant is a 75 percent replacement grant for the project. She said the township pays all the cost up front and the grant will reimburse 75 percent of the total cost.
“This is a huge benefit of having a parks levy,” Hugh said. “We have the money to do the project and then we’re reimbursed. Most communities don’t have the money up front for a reimbursement grant.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.