Sunday, February 11, 2001

Coalition backs new bike path

Trail to link two rivers

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — It's a dream shared by a handful of communities — a bike path linking two scenic rivers — and now those communities also share a plan to make it come true.

        Bicyclists may one day be able to pedal between the Little Miami and Great Miami rivers thanks to a joint proposal drawn up by six Butler and Warren County communities.

        The plan's backers are West Chester, Liberty and Deerfield townships and the cities of Hamilton, Fairfield and Mason. They have formed the Butler-Warren Bicycle Coalition to seek $146,000 in funding to study the bike path, which would be built along an east-west corridor between the rivers in southern Butler and Warren counties.

        This “Miami-2-Miami Connector” plan, which has been endorsed by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Coalition of Governments (OKI), would create 53.8 miles of new bike trails linking existing bikeways along the two southwest Ohio rivers.

        Supporters of the plan realized that a regional, cooperative approach was necessary in creating a recreational pathway that would dissect so many communities and attract bikers and joggers from around the Tristate.

        Don Burrell, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the OKI, applauded the communities' regional vision. Mr. Burrell said that “too often communities work independently to develop trails that end up leading nowhere.

        “By working together, each piece of this path can be linked to the other, creating a path that is suitable for recreational bicyclists as well as those using bikes as a means of transportation,” Mr. Burrell said.

        The Miami-2-Miami Connector plan is the latest in a growing Tristate effort to link existing bikeways throughout southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

        Last month, OKI held public meetings on a proposal to connect 45 miles of bike trail, known as “River Path” because it follows the Ohio River along Ky. 8 through Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, to other area bike trails. These would include the Great Miami River Trail, linking Hamilton, Fairfield, Middletown and Franklin and eventually would join with bike trails in Dayton, Ohio.


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