Delaware County Friends of the Trail has launched a Go Fund Me campaign to complete the Galena Brick Trail.
In a presentation to Delaware County commissioners on Thursday, Friends of the Trail members said they had received a Clean Ohio trail grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to convert an old railroad bed from Dustin Road to Holmes Street to a 10-foot-wide paved multi-purpose trail and replace the bridge deck over Little Walnut Creek.
However, when the project was bid out, the cost was much higher than the funds available. Changing the bridge to wood and offering in-kind services lowered the estimates, but there is still a shortfall of $17,945. If the money can’t be raised, the grant would be withdrawn.
Commissioners praised the village of Galena for its support of the project, but said they didn’t want to simply give the Friends of the Trail the entire amount of the shortfall. They said they are willing to do a match from whatever the non-profit organization could raise. Contributions from a number of donors were discussed.
Since there was no resolution attached as part of the presentation, commissioners said they would consider the matter at a future meeting.
Friends of the Trail and village staff said completing the Galena Brick Trail will draw visitors to the area.
“This trail eventually will connect to the Hoover Scenic Trail and Genoa Trail south of us and the Big Walnut Community Trail to the north in Sunbury that connects to Big Walnut Elementary,” wrote Galena Village Administrator Jeanna Burrell in an email. “The trails will also link Galena’s neighborhoods with our parks and downtown commercial area.”
In addition, the trail would be part of the Ohio to Erie Trail, which runs from Cincinnati to Cleveland. Delaware is one of the counties in the state with gaps in the trail.
“We’ve been working on this trail for 16 years,” Friends of the Trail president Dave Bender told commissioners. “Bike riders are looking for destination rides like from Westerville to Galena or Sunbury, and by having these links off the main roads, it’s important for their safety.”
“We think it’s going to be a big generator of tourism dollars,” Friends member Dave Staats said. “We’ve got travelers going to or through Ohio on bicycles, running, walking. There’s going to be people wanting hotel rooms, looking for meals. It translates into money spent, income, sales and lodging tax without huge development. It’s a greenway through the state.”
For more information, visit gofundme.com/htn89dkc.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.