Popular Clark County bike path gets upgrades

Decades have come and gone since freight trains traveled along old U.S. 68, but Beatty Station has come to life again with a new focus.

The rusted iron rails of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, P.C.C.& St.L., have long ago been replaced by the beautiful Little Miami Scenic Trail. The Beatty Station site has recently been expanded to fit the needs of the bicyclists, runners, walkers, baby strollers and skaters who now frequent the route.

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Saturday, April 7, has been set for the grand opening of the greatly improved trail head. This was made possible by a Nature Works grant.

“This is the opening day for the bike trails,” said Carol Kennard, executive director of the Clark County Park District. “That’s why we picked that day. It is time to start thinking of enjoying the greater outdoors.”

As she explained, Beatty Station is now much more than just a parking lot.

The bicycle fix-it station that was set up by the Friends of the Clark County Park District has been joined by a shelter house, picnic tables, a bench, information kiosks, a “Mutt Station” for dog walkers and a mock train playground for children. The Springfield-Clark Career Technical Center did much of the construction.

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The best part is the permanent restroom facility, which replaces the big plastic portable toilets that have been onsite for years.

Local officials and a National Rails to Trails representative will be on hand for the formal ribbon cutting ceremony.

“For the ribbon cutting, we’re using toilet paper instead of a ribbon,” said Kennard. A bike will ride through it instead of cutting the ribbon.

The grand opening begins at 10 a.m. and goes to 2 p.m. when there will be a drawing for donated prize baskets.

You need not be present to win.

“If you are not there, we will give you a call on Monday,” she said.

Other scheduled activities include a bike repair clinic and demonstrations, a costumed train engineer, and tables of information by the park district, CCTC, Greene County bicyclists and others. Young’s On the Move trailer will be on site serving panini, ice cream and cheese curds.

Since parking is limited, visitors are asked to park for the event at the Springfield Twp. Fire Station or at Young’s and walk or bike to Beatty Station.

There’s one part of the project still in the works. According to Kennard, the district is searching for a college student to design a “train station” for the play area. CCTC will handle the construction.

This is all part of the effort to improve recreational opportunities in this area and make the Little Miami Scenic Trail even greater. Currently it is the largest paved trail network in the nation, with 78 miles of paved trails through five different counties.

“It is a nice trail that travels in and out of wooded areas,” said Kennard, who explained that the shade and rural nature of the trail is one of its most attractive features.

This is just one more way that our park districts make living in Clark County and Springfield pleasurable. The staff, volunteers and supporters of events like this deserve our appreciation.

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