Kent Park’s and Recreation department has done a great job of going after federal, state and private dollars to build miles of bike trails in Kent. They’ve gathered nearly $8 million dollars so far and are applying for another $350,000 right now. As the City Manager, and an avid bicyclist, I’m cheering them on to get the latest round of appropriations through Congressman Tim Ryan’s Office so they can extend the trail along the Cuyahoga River for approximately ½ mile through Fred Fuller Park and continue to the John Brown Tannery Park where the existing trail will be moved “up the bank” to get the trail above the floodplain.
Here’s the application and the description of the proposed project:
U.S. Representative Tim Ryan
Appropriations Request Form
Tentative deadline for submission: March 2, 2007
Please return electronically to:
Barbara.Ewing@mail.house.gov or fax to 330-740-0182.
Name of Project: The PORTAGE Hike & Bike Trail – Cuyahoga River Segment Phase II
Name of Requesting Organization: Kent Parks & Recreation – Kent Ohio
Physical Location of Project: Between Fred Fuller Park and John Brown Tannery Park (downtown) in Kent, Portage County, Ohio
Supporting Organizations (if applicable): City of Kent, Portage County Commissioners, Franklin Township, Ravenna Township, City of Ravenna, Kent State University, AMATS, Portage Area Regional Transit Authority (PARTA)
Project Description (250 words or less): The PORTAGE Hike & Bike Trail – Cuyahoga River Section Phase II will enable completion of this section of the trail that connects downtown Kent with the western leg of the trail. Phase I is currently under design and will be constructed in 2008. In addition the Portage Park District and Kent Parks & Recreation were recently awarded a Clean Ohio Trails Fund Grant to extend the trail 3 miles to the east from downtown Kent to Ravenna. Approximately 10 miles of The PORTAGE is open with another 4 miles funded and currently under design.
The trail will follow the Cuyahoga River for approximately ½ mile through Fred Fuller Park and continue to the John Brown Tannery Park where the existing trail will be moved “up the bank” to get the trail above the floodplain. This will involve the construction of a retaining wall for approximately 800 feet to “bench” the trail into the slope. The trail surfacing will be asphalt with the exception of three small boardwalks. This section of the trail is in a substandard condition and is often impassible due to high water. Kent Parks & Recreation does not have adequate funds to complete this project on its own. The project will be located entirely on City of Kent property and will not require any acquisition. It will be ADA-compliant and available for a variety of users including hikers, bikers, roller bladders and cross country skiers. The project is currently being designed and all environmental review should be completed by July of 2007. This will enable the project to be constructed as soon as construction funds are available.
Amount requested: $350,000
Sources of matching funds (please remember that you are more likely to be funded if you request no more than 50 percent of the total cost of the project). City of Kent Parks & Recreation (cash)
The minimum amount in federal funds needed to have the project/program move ahead. $300,000
If applicable, does the project have the support of state/local elected officials (especially for infrastructure projects)? Please identify and include resolutions of support if available. Yes. In particular, the trail has been identified as a Priority Regional Trail in the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan Recommendations Report of the Akron Metropolitan Transportation Study (AMATS), as well as the “Trails for All Ohioans” State Trails Plan, the Portage County Bike Plan, and the Kent Parks & Recreation Master Plan.
Has the project received federal funding in the past? If so, please specify amount, source, year, etc. The PORTAGE Hike & Bike Trail received $728,000 FY 2005 Federal Appropriation. Plus over $7M from other sources.
What are the anticipated benefits of the project (250 words or less). There are numerous benefits to the local and regional community from the development of this trail. This segment is a major piece of the east-west trail connection between Northeast Ohio’s two regional north-south trails; the Ohio and Erie Canalway Corridor and the Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway, as well as the 1435-mile Buckeye Trail circling the state and one of only 50 Millennium Legacy Trails across the country. The trail provides alternative transportation to communities, as well as a safe place for healthy recreation by all ages. PARTA, the Portage Area Regional Transportation Agency, operates bus routes in the vicinity, supports the PORTAGE, and is planning for inclusion of bike racks on all buses thus augmenting transportation options.
As a regional trail, it also presents opportunities for economic development through increased tourism and new business opportunities. This project provides the final vital link in connecting the trail with the downtown business districts of Kent and Ravenna. The trail will be a significant improvement to the quality of life in Portage County and will provide an appreciation of nature as it traverses the scenic Cuyahoga River. Kent State University recognizes the value of amenities like this trail to help recruit and maintain its student population.
Identify the targeted population who will be served by this initiative. This regional trail will serve the communities of the Western Reserve directly connecting the City of Kent with Franklin Township, Ravenna Township, and the City of Ravenna. On road connections will further enable users to access the Metroparks Serving Summit County that connects with the Ohio and Erie Corridor at two locations; Munroe Falls Road in Kent and the Franklin Connector. Kent State University with its 24,000 students will also be served by the trail as efforts continue to connect the university with downtown Kent via the “Campus Link” which is also a part of The PORTAGE. As the trail expands beyond the City of Ravenna it has the potential to connect Windham and ultimately Warren Ohio communities.
Full contact information (address, email, telephone numbers, including cells) of two members of the requesting organization who can answer questions on the project.
John Idone, Parks & Recreation Director Chris Tolnar, City Engineer
Kent Parks & Recreation Department Kent Engineering Department
497 Middlebury Road 930 Overholt Drive
Kent , OH 44240 Kent, OH 44240
330-673-8897 voice 330-842-2381 cell 330-678-8106
Will this request be submitted to any other U.S. Representatives or U.S. Senators for consideration? If so, please specify. NO
Does your organization have any financial issues – now or in the foreseeable future- that could place the organization’s operation at risk of continuing its programs and services, or would jeopardize the availability of the local match? Kent Parks & Recreation funding has been growing each year with increased property tax levies and additional program revenue. In 2006 a tax increase was approved by voters by a margin of over 60%. The development of projects like The PORTAGE has been very well received in the community and has a positive impact on our image in the community.
John J. Idone 3/2/07
John Idone has told me that Congressman Ryan’s office has been a big help, so the next time you see him, give him a high five for his hard work getting Kent bike trail dollars.