by Laura Freeman | Reporter
Hudson - The city’s park board and parks department plan to launch a $1.7 million trail project next year to connect downtown to surrounding cities.
Based on an earlier plan called the Spine Trail, this project would be called Veterans Trail and would eventually connect Hudson to Stow, Silver Lake, Cuyahoga Falls and Akron to the south. To the north, the trail would connect Hudson to Boston Heights, said Park Board Chair Rob Swedenborg.
The southern and northern ends would connect to the Summit County MetroParks bike and hike trails and forms a large loop, Swedenborg said.
“Anyone accessing the trail would have direct access of all the connecting trails,” Swedenborg said. “It’s full of connections and goes through downtown.”
The trail from the Boston Heights border to Prospect Street would be completed in the first phase in 2013, budgeted at $800,000, Swedenborg said. The trail could be two 4-foot bike lanes along each side of Hines Hill Road for a quarter of a mile, and then a 10-foot paved asphalt trail off the road. Or it could be off the road the entire length.
The plans have not yet been finalized. Although $800,000 is in the proposed 2013 budget, Council will have to approve the project when it is presented for design and construction.
The plans for the trail are expected to be completed in January, according to Communications Manager Jody Roberts.
The project will appear many times before Council, and they can offer input on the project, Roberts said. Council authorizes the engineering costs, the project going out to bid and approves the final contract. The funding comes from the parks department, which is primarily funded by the city income tax.
Safety and finances are part of the decision, said Eric Hutchinson, parks superintendent.
Three more phases are budgeted in 2014, 2015 and 2017 for $300,000 each year, according to the proposed 2013 five-year budget.
Swedenborg said the $300,000 per year would not be enough, and the parks department is trying to obtain matching grants from federal and state agencies.
“We’re hoping to apply for grants and receive money to match the $300,000,” Hutchinson said.
The second phase calls for the trail to follow Prospect and Morse Roads into downtown Hudson, occasionally meandering close to Brandywine Creek. It would enter Veterans Way Park and travel south, close to the unused railroad track.
The proposed trail would go south past Barlow and Terex roads to Hudson’s southern border.
“The state wants trails that connect citizens to destinations,” Swedenborg said. “This trail goes right through the community and housing developments. It’s easily accessible to many people in the community and connects them to parks, MetroPark trails, Cuyahoga Valley, downtown and other neighborhoods.”
City Council has said “a more vibrant and connected community” is a top priority, Swedenborg said. This proposed trail is a key component in achieving that vision.
The park board has asked the Friends of Hudson Parks, a local volunteer group that supports Hudson parks, to assist by gathering local support. To receive grants, the city must show a high level of local support and commitment to the project.