Funding and support are lining up to build a new bike trail that would connect the villages of Clifton and Yellow Springs.
A total of $45,000 has been set aside from various sources, including $20,000 from the state, to do a feasibility study on the new trail, dubbed the Yellow Springs to Clifton connector. The estimated cost of the project is $3 million, and supporters are pursuing a Clean Ohio grant to help fund it, officials said.
Greene County commissioners approved a resolution supporting the case on Thursday. Clifton, Yellow Springs and Miami Twp. leaders have all passed resolutions stating their support for the project and setting aside funding.
Clifton Mayor Alex Bieri said the idea to connect the villages has been around for decades. Cyclists who want to travel between the two destinations must use Ohio 343, which is dangerously narrow and does not have a shoulder.
Bieri said linking the villages with a trail along the Little Miami River, Clifton Gorge, John Bryan State Park and the Glen Helen Nature Preserve is “a dream come true.”
“Instead of turn lanes and surface parking everywhere, we need connectivity at a human scale between downtown districts, neighborhoods, and parks,” Bieri said. “I think we are getting back to some of that common sense community based model of development that raises the game for livability and quality of life and mixed-use trails are a part of that.”
Bieri said village and township leaders are working with the Toole Design Group on the design and engineering of the trail.
The ideal route for the trail is along the south side of Ohio 343 to Ohio 370, through John Bryan State Park until reaching the Clifton Gorge parking lot, according to a letter from Yellow Springs Council President Brian Housh to the Yellow Springs Community Foundation.
Housh said this “multi-use trail” has been discussed for about 40 years.
“It is really exciting to finally have forward momentum after so many starts and stops, and there has been great support from the stakeholders and key partners,” Housh said. “Property owners and community members in general have been quite supportive, albeit the typical concerns have been raised about ensuring minimal impact to the environment and people’s property.”