Towpath Trail Update

There are many exciting updates to the Ohio & Erie Towpath Trail through downtown Akron. The last section in the City of Akron, behind Canal Place, was completed in 2011 and several major sections along the trail are under construction to be completed in 2012.

 

The Richard Howe House Connector Trail 

Construction of the Towpath Trail Connection at the Richard Howe House, downtown Akron
Construction of the Towpath Trail Connection at the
Richard Howe House, downtown Akron

To better serve trail users, a connector trail is being built from the Towpath Trail to the Richard Howe House where the culvert crosses the canal at West Exchange Street. This connector trail has been made possible through the generous support of the Jean Thomas Lambert Foundation, S.L. Gimbel Foundation and the Summit County Trail and Greenway Plan.  The Connector Trail will provide hikers and bicyclists with a direct connection to the Richard Howe House Visitors Center for interpretive information, water and restrooms.  Construction of the Richard Howe House Connector Trail will be completed in 2012.

 

Bartges Street Towpath Trail Dedication

 Mayor Plusquellic (center) officially dedicates the final section of Towpath in Akron

Pictured above: Mayor Plusquellic (center) officially dedicates the final section of Towpath in Akron. Joining him the ceremony were (L-R) Catey Breck, representing Congresswoman Betty Sutton; Chris Cupples of Congressman Tim Ryan's office; George Brown, representing Senator Rob Portman; Dan Rice, President of the Ohio & Erie Canal Coalition; Keith Shy, Director-Secretary of Summit Metro Parks; Frances Buchholzer and Carol Curtis, Metro Parks Trustees; Dep. Supt Paul Stoehr, Cuyahoga Valley National Park; and Jason Segedy, Director of AMATS.

 

On October 26, 2011 the final section of Towpath Trail in downtown Akron was opened. This marks a major milestone in the Towpath Trail as Akron is now the first major city along the 101-mile bike and hike trail to be completed within its corporate limits. With this sections completed, bikers and hikers can now get on the trail at Harvard Avenue in Cleveland and travel all the way to the Wolf Creek Trailhead in Barberton without having to leave the Towpath Trail.

 

Barberton

PPG Towpath Trail in Barberton
The PPG Towpath Trail in Barberton

The section of Towpath Trail from Wolf Creek Trailhead to Eastern Road is currently under construction. Summit Metro Parks and the ABC Railroad came to an agreement to allow a railroad underpass at the Railroad Tracks in that section. This section is mostly finished but will not be open until early 2012 when weather permits the completion of the trail.

 

Limbach Building in Clinton, Ohio

The front of one of the Limbach Buildings
The front of one of the Limbach Buildings

Working in partnership with Summit County, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition continued to look for ways to restore these historic canal-ere buildings.  SOL Harris Day developed plans for upgrading the infrastructure of the two-story buildings.  The Ohio Historic Preservation Office has reviewed the plan and the projects beginning in early 2012 will include adding heating and electric to the buildings preparing them for a the next phase of renovation.

 

Aqueduct Towpath Trail Bridge

Stark Parks, in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Commissioners, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, ODOT District 11 and Friend of the Tuscarawas County Parks is currently completing plans to construct and bridge crossing the Tuscarawas River connecting Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. The bridge will cross at the site of the original Aqueduct Bridge with the historic remains of the original bridge being preserved.

 

Tuscarawas Land Purchase 

Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition purchased land along the Towpath Trail with funding from Ohio Public Works Commission and Friends of Tuscarawas Parks.  The land north of Bolivar was purchased from the McDonnell’s.  This land, situated on Route 212 and the Tuscarawas River, will provide a future site for a trailhead and access to the river for canoeing.  It is also located next to the historic site of a former aqueduct bridge that carried canal boats over the river.  This site will provide easy access to the Towpath Trail, the Tuscarawas River, and important historic remnants of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

 

Bolivar

The Village of Bolivar is working to complete a section of the Towpath Trail through the Fort Lauren’s property, along Fort Lauren’s Road, and through downtown Bolivar using Canal Street. The Village is using funds from the village of Bolivar, the Community Benefits Fund, and a grant from the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association.

 

Zoar to Zoarville 

Volunteers working on the trail
Volunteers working on the trail.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition a grant of $150,000 to help in building 2.7 miles of the Towpath Trail from Zoar to Zoarville in Tuscarawas County.  This project has been developed in partnership with the Tuscarawas County Commissioners and Friends of the Tuscarawas Parks who help raise matching funds.  The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition will act as the project manager for the trail construction.  The plans designed by Civil Design Associated are currently under review with the ODNR and the Army Corp of Engineers.  The project should be under construction in the summer of 2012.

 

Buckhorn Creek Trail

This 8 mile trail running from Stonecreek to Newcomerstown in Tuscarawas County is on the site of a former rail road right-of-way.  5 miles of the trail have been completed and are maintain with the help of local volunteers.  In October, Dominion East Ohio gas employees brought equipment and man power to help improve drainage at three sites along the trail.  Students from Newcomerstown Schools helped with trail maintenance in August.  General maintenance has been done with the help of local volunteers.  This project has been greatly supported by the community and volunteers.