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Request For Bike Trail Funding Falls Flat

Cincinnati Connects

A request for local matching funds to connect some bike trails in Hamilton County failed to get support from commissioners.  Cincinnati Connects had originally asked commissioners to commit to $360,000 for three trail projects.

The request was made last week, but commissioners had questions about where the money would come from.

Tuesday morning, Commissioner Todd Portune brought an amended proposal: $328,000 for two trails. The money would have connected the south end of the Mill Creek Trail with bike lanes on Gest Street, Evans Playground, and the Ohio River West trail.  It would have also tied the Oasis and Wasson Way trails with Armleder Park.

Commissioner Dennis Deters agreed trails can be important for a community, but he wasn't happy with where the money would come from.

"I was hoping that we'd get a difference answer from the administration with regard to funding. Considering we're in a position now where we're going to be asked to spend reserve funds. Taxpayer dollars that are kept in reserve for what I would consider significant emergency, public safety type priorities," Deters said.

Commission President Chris Monzel agreed. "We've already tapped into reserves for other issues such as the 911 communication center, I don't support going there with that today."

The deadline to apply for the grant, administered through OKI, was Tuesday afternoon. 

Portune pointed out that the county only needed to commit to funding the local match, and would not have to actually spend anything until July 2018.  He said that gave the board time to find money from other sources, such as the Transportation Improvement District.

But Monzel said the T.I.D. was the proper "wheelhouse" for a bike trail project, but, "The problem is we're also paying out of that fund for consultants and other expenses that we might not have any money in there."

Portune's motion died for lack of a second.