|The Western Reserve Greenway
The Western Reserve Greenway is the former
PennCentral right-of-way which was closed in April, 1976.
The line at one time was also known as the USRA 714 rail line.
which served industry then, is now set to help serve the recreational needs of Ashtabula county.
The Ashtabula County MetroParks secured a 15-year lease agreement from the current
property owner, the State of Ohio. The lease, signed by Governor George Voinovich in late
May, 1997, and recorded in the Ashtabula County courts, authorizes construction of the Western
Reserve Greenway on the Ashtabula portion of the former 714 roadbed.
The Western Reserve Greenway is 43 miles in length, and Ashtabula County is
home to 27 of the miles. The trail begins next to West Avenue, across from the ODOT garage,
in Ashtabula City and then south below Orwell. From there, the trail proceeds to Champion,
just north of Warren.|
The UNDER I-90 TWO MILE RUN was held
August 17th 2002 and about seventy people took part. The overall winner for women was
Mallory Dragon, and for men was Jason Strong. Winners in the "Age 14 and under" class
were Kailey Johnson and Harrison Markel. Other winners were Abbey Wilson, Shawna MacCurdy
Bryan, Tina Davison, Kelly McClinton, Lauren Bahr, and Peggy Tague for the women;
Aaron Nicka, Evan Hare, Angelo Ramos, J.P. Ducro, Andy Hearn, Robert Shuman, Rick Armstrong,
Jack Howe and Greg Hare for the men. A big Thankyou to all who participated.
The 2002 "March for Parks" was held Saturday, 27th April 2002.
About forty people participated, and more than $2600 was raised. The proceeds are used for
incidental items on the trail, such as benches, for the comfort and convenience of users.
Contact Kevin Grippi, the Trail's co-ordinator, for more information; contact info
Early in 1998, the National Recreational Trails Fund awarded Ashtabula County Parks a
$40,000 matching grant to help with construction of the major staging area at Lampson
Road. The Ashtabula County Commissioners have promised the $20,000 match, but volunteer
labor is important, too. We invite all interested persons to become active in the
A hearty thankyou to all who participated in the cleanup at the Lampson Road staging area
on 13th April 2002. About eighty people showed up despite a steady drizzle of rain. Enough
trash and litter was collected to fill a large (a REALLY HUGE) dumpster provided
by Waste Management. All this persistence was rewarded later with lots of pizza at the
Austinburg Twp Hall.
Now, here's a progress report and some
background on the Western Reserve Greenway:
The ACT2000 task force on Parks & Recreation became interested in the Western
Reserve Greenway efforts several years ago. The task force was instrumental in
raising further awareness of the project.
As a result, a substantial amount of "Jump Start" funding was awarded to the
Ashtabula County MetroParks by the Civic Development Corporation of Ashtabula (the CDC) and
the Ashtabula Foundation in 1998. Among other things, this enabled us to hire our
co-ordinator for development of the Western Reserve Greenway in Ashtabula County. Early in 1999
we were awarded a TEA-21 grant which, with matching funds, totalled nearly $1,250,000
for trail construction.
What was to have been an early Spring 2001 start date for construction was delayed. But
paving on the trail has finally begun. Koski Construction was awarded the paving contract
in early November 2001 for the trail's first phase of construction. The formal opening
ceremony for the Western Reserve Greenway was held at noon on Monday, July 15th, 2002.
Because the trail construction is federally funded, motorized vehicles are prohibited
except for motorized wheelchairs and maintenance vehicles.
However, as a result of the same law, snowmobiles will be allowed when winter conditions permit.
Funding was contingent upon the trail's being usable in all seasons of the year, and
Ashtabula County is known for snow during "normal" winters. There are no other exceptions to
this federal mandate which the County Parks Board must enforce.
Partnership with the Illuminating Company (a division of First Energy) resulted
in their clearing overgrowth from the Greenway between South Woodman Avenue and West
Avenue in Spring of 2000. This benefited the City of Ashtabula by providing installation
of a 35,000-volt feeder line for city residents. It also provided an impromptu hiking
and biking surface for folks who live near the cleared area. This partnership with
the Illuminating Company will continue, according to First Energy officials, with
other amenities for the safety and convenience of trail users.
Income from state road taxes was used to pave the new staging
area at the Austinburg Road Extension. The new road and parking lot, complete with
collapsible bollards (i.e., barriers) were completed early in 2000.
And our staging
area in Austinburg, on SR 307 next to the Post Office, has also been recently paved. . .
which is an improvement the local folks appreciate.
Kevin has researched various surfacing materials besides asphalt and has found
promise in the use of rubber from recycled automotive tires. This alternative solution
promises to reduce landfill and improve our local environment while preserving the rural
character of our communities.
A brief word of explanation: Although its formal name is "The Western Reserve
Greenway," it is also loosely referred to as the Trail, or the Greenway, or the Greenway
Trail. . .(a rose by any other name still smells as sweet).
Once the Western Reserve Greenway is fully developed, it will tie into a
nationwide network of hiking/biking trails. Kind of awe inspiring, isn't it!?
Be a Friend of the Western Reserve Greenway -
Write P.O.Box 1788, Warren OH 44481-1788.