Springfield seeking grant to move bike trail, restore creek

A portion of the trail near Lagonda Avenue is deteriorating due to Buck Creek’s current.

The city of Springfield is seeking a $360,000 state grant to relocate a portion of the Buck Creek Scenic Trail that’s collapsing due to current from the creek.

A portion of the trail near the former International site on Lagonda Avenue has been deteriorating gradually for several years, but it became more substantial this winter. It’s been blocked off since last year due to safety issues, said Bryan Heck, deputy city manager.

Springfield City Commissioners approved the application last week.

The city has applied for a Clean Ohio grant, which will include a local match from both the Springfield Conservancy District ($50,000) and the city ($40,000). If approved, the project would begin early next spring, Heck said.

The bike trail was built in the late 1990s, Heck said. The speed of the current from the creek is undermining the retaining wall of the bike trail, causing it to collapse.

If approved, the grant money will be used to relocate the bike path about 10 feet south and restore the creek to its natural course, Heck said.

“It will allow the water to run more freely in its natural path,” Heck said. “The water is constantly running directly into the gabion basket and retaining wall and then it’s coming up underneath it and it’s starting to wash it away and wash it out.”

The portion of the trail needing repairs is an especially tough section where the creek is coming in from an angle and hits the side of the bank, said Pete Noonan of the Springfield Conservancy District, which maintains the creek. The trail is still rideable and safe for cyclists, Noonan said.

“It doesn’t look very good,” Noonan said. “It’s not a good situation in the long run.”

The city hasn’t had many complaints, but they’re concerned about safety of others, including walkers, he said.

“It creates an unsafe environment for people using the trail,” Heck said.

Clark County and Springfield play a big role in the large trail network in the region, Heck said.

“We want to take care of that asset for our community,” Heck said.

Several major upgrades to the trail are underway, including the $1.3 million Little Miami Scenic Trail extension which is currently being constructed and will add a dedicated bike trail between downtown and Beatty Station. Next year, the city is planning to spend about $225,000 in state grant money to make repairs to the trail system throughout Springfield.

“There’s a lot of momentum in terms of our trail system and new infrastructure added,” Heck said.

The conservancy district is still working on a plan to build a bridge under Buck Creek to combine Snyder Park with Veterans Park, Noonan said. The district is still seeking funding for the project that will cost at least $1 million, he said.

“We’re still very hopeful it will get done in 2017,” Noonan said.

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