Dayton-area bike, river allies celebrate Troy trail that started it all in 1973

One-mile paved trail 50 years ago was first step toward Miami Valley region’s 350-mile connected trail system - the longest in the nation

TROY — The Miami Conservancy District and others involved in the region’s bike trail system invited people to take a ride back to the ‘70s to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first mile of paved trail construction.

The decades-old project, and Friday’s new celebration, were in Troy. The since-extended trail started at the Adams Street Bridge over the Great Miami River and extended along the river levee to North Ridge Avenue. Among goals at the time was to provide bicycle access from the Westbrook Neighborhood north of West Main Street to city recreation facilities that included Hobart Arena, City Park and the city pool, now the aquatic center.

Those arriving for Friday’s celebration were greeted by music popular in 1973 and bicycles from that time on display.

The first section of trail cost $11,287 with funding from the City Beautification Committee ($1,562) and the balance from the Troy Foundation. The foundation has supported other trail-associated projects over the years.

Troy Mayor Robin Oda said she doesn’t think most people were aware of the significance of this section of the trail.

“That single-mile trail system has grown into the nation’s longest (connected) trail system,” she said.

A new kiosk along the trail features information on the current Miami Valley Trails system that includes the Great Miami River Recreation Trail, the Little Miami Scenic Trail, Creekside Trail, Simon Kenton Trail, Xenia Jamestown-Connector, Wright Brothers-Huffman Prairie Trail, Stillwater River Trail, Mad River Trail, Iron Horse Trail, and the Dayton-Kettering Connector.

The trail across the region now covers more than 350 connected miles.

“The first mile of trail was constructed on top of the levee in Troy, which is an integral part of the flood protection system keeping our region safe from devastating floods,” said MaryLynn Loder, general manager of the Miami Conservancy District. “The first mile of trail grew into the nation’s largest system of connected paved trails, and that’s worth celebrating.”

The efforts of the late Lucia Hobart Bravo also were recognized. The Troy resident was an advocate for many causes, including championing the potential of the river corridor. She worked with the beautification committee and others on seeing that first section come to life.

In addition to the conservancy district, others involved in the efforts include the city of Troy, Miami County and Troy Foundation. Bike Miami Valley, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and Miami County Park District also participated in the event.

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