Updated Thu, Sep 19, 2013 7:40 am
With the bike path spur from Hockhocking Adena Bikeway to Athens High School in The Plains nearly complete, the county has about $30,000 left over from the more than $500,000 project.
“I just want us to use it,” said County Commissioner Chris Chmiel. “We have to give it back if we don’t use it. I’d like to find a way to spend it, so it will benefit our community.”
Funding for the project was obtained from federal, state and local grants. The county doesn’t have a firm deadline for when it must be spent, but it “needs to be used as quickly as possible,” said County Planner Lori Burchett.
No decisions have been made yet on how to spend that remaining money, said Athens County Engineer Jeff Maiden. He said he plans to meet with the bike path committee to discuss options. Burchett added any plans must be reviewed for eligibility.
Some possible enhancements include painting a yellow line on the center of the path from Eclipse Company Town to the high school, purchasing fixed park benches for the bike path parking lot near the school or installing bike racks and signage.
The surplus became available because about 900 feet was eliminated during the early stages of the project, Maiden explained. The original plans had the path extending to Campbell Street, but because of concerns from residents and a few logistical issues, the path now ends by the high school entrance.
The shortened project generated about $92,000 in savings. About $60,000 has already been committed, Maiden said. About 400 lineal feet of asphalt curb will be added adjacent to the Eclipse parking lot to delineate the bike path from the gravel parking lot. To create a safe separation between the bike path and the Johnson Road, 1,300 feet of guardrail along Johnson Road was added to the project. A clogged culvert was replaced and rock channel protection was installed.
Residents of Wyngate Condominiums can access the bike path on foot, if they want to cross busy Johnson Road.
During a recent commissioners meeting, commissioners asked Maiden about the possibility of creating a path that would connect the Wyngate community with the path near the high school. After some research, Maiden decided that would not be possible.
“I don’t think we have enough money for that,” Maiden said.
He added it would likely not pass an environmental impact assessment because part of the construction would be near a cemetery.