Dedicated trail on Springfield’s south side to open next week

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 9 where the trail crosses John Street between South Yellow Springs Street and Portage Path, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said.

“It’s not only a win for cycling in our community, but a win for cycling throughout the entire Miami Valley,” Heck said.

>>RELATED: Springfield seeking grant to move bike trail, restore creek

>>DETAILS: Springfield planning improvements to bike trails

Previously, the dedicated bike path ended near the Interstate 70 overpass at Springfield-Xenia Road and then cyclists shared the road with cars for about an eighth of a mile until they reach a dedicated path along John St. The trail returned for about a half-mile until Johnny Lytle Avenue, where it shared the road, mostly along Plum Street. The bike path returned at Fair Street.

In the past, cyclists would often ride the trail until it stopped at Springfield-Xenia Road and turn around, Heck said. With the completed 1.2-mile path, cyclists will now stay on dedicated trail through the entire south end of town — making them feel more comfortable.

“They’re not having to deal with another situation of being intermixed with motor vehicle traffic,” Heck said.

>>MORE COVERAGE: Springfield planning improvements to bike trails

Riders will now have the opportunity to explore downtown and other Springfield attractions, Heck said. The trail will include signage to places like the Hartman Rock Garden, he said.

“They’ll be able to find the things Springfield has to offer,” Heck said.

Earlier this year, Springfield city commissioners approved an $872,000 contract with Urbana-based J&J Schlaegel for the project. The construction was paid for entirely with money from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The 73-mile Little Miami Scenic Trail is a paved path that runs between Springfield and Cincinnati, the longest single trail in the 330-mile Miami Valley trail network. The trail also provides a connection to the Simon Kenton Trail, which allow cyclists to travel as far north as Bellefontaine.

The trail extension in Springfield took about five years to come to fruition, including nearly two years for the city to acquire $145,000 in land for the project.

“Staff has worked tirelessly to bring this project to a conclusion,” Heck said.

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