By Anna Guido
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Piece by piece, the Miami 2 Miami regional bikeway system in Butler and Warren counties is coming together.
Sections of the trail in Liberty and West Chester townships have received state funding and are targeted for construction this fall and spring.
In Liberty Township, construction began this week on a 1-mile section just east of Lesourdsville-West Chester Road and south of the Michael A. Fox Highway.
The project cost is $315,000. The township is paying $120,000 and the rest of the work is being funded with Ohio Department of Transportation enhancement dollars, township Trustee Christine Matacic said.
Weather permitting, the trail should be completed by the end of December.
Eventually, the Miami 2 Miami bikeway system will connect 80 miles of Great and Little Miami River trails in Butler and Warren counties. Parts of the bikeway system already are in place, and it could be completed in five to 10 years.
A new section to be built in West Chester is the 1.55-mile Port Union-Gilmore Ponds Historic Canal Trail. This trail will begin at Port Union Road and run along the old Miami-Erie Canal, heading west toward Gilmore Ponds Interpretive Preserve in Fairfield.
It is significant because it preserves historic landmarks and provides educational and recreational opportunities, Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said.
The county engineer's office is managing the $393,867 Port Union-Gilmore Ponds project, which is being funded by West Chester Township and Clean Ohio Trails through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The township's share in the project is $118,867 and the state grant is for $275,000. Work on the trail is set to begin this spring, township Parks and Recreation Director Bill Zerkle said.
Beyond Butler and Warren counties, communities throughout the Tristate have taken steps to get bike-trail systems in place, including Northern Kentucky's Campbell County, Hamilton and Clermont counties in Greater Cincinnati, and in parts of Dearborn County, Ind.
For more information on the Miami 2 Miami Trail, visit www.westchesteroh.org or call West Chester Parks & Recreation at 759-7301.
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