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CROWN bike-pedestrian trail loop hits capital campaign goal

Solid green lines mark existing trails, while red dotted lines show the future trails planned in the Crown Capital Campaign.
CROWN Cincinnati
Solid green lines mark existing trails, while red dotted lines show the future trails planned in the CROWN Capital Campaign.

Corporations, foundations and individuals have contributed $10 million to a shared-use trail system around Cincinnati. Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston says the CROWN Trail Loop will be a game-changer for the community.

"Most obviously, people think of recreation, fitness, exercise," he says. "Having this freely accessible amenity in our community, touching neighborhoods, reconnecting neighborhoods that have been historically segregated because of the construction of the highway network."

Johnston says the trail will give people another option for transportation, and should increase the number of people bicycling to work.

"Right now we're really focused on getting the asphalt on the ground, but we know that that's going to encourage public art," he says. "It's going to encourage landscaping and planting trees, and it's going to encourage people to want to live near the trail, businesses to want to build things near the trail, to develop near the trail."

Johnston says right now, Great Parks of Hamilton County is building a bridge over the Little Miami River to connect a couple of trails, and negotiations are underway to get the land to connect Lunken Airport with Downtown. He says there are also plans to build along the Mill Creek.

"That part is not included in this portion of our campaign, but sometime in the future we hope to replicate this model and get the Mill Creek Trail finished and the Ohio River Trail connected from Lower Price Hill to Downtown," Johnson says. "And from there, we really believe this loop will be like a hub that will catalyze other trail connections - spurs that go out to other communities - more than just the loop."

Johnson says the $10 million is a local match for federal grants. "With any of the federal or state funding that's awarded for projects, typically it's the range of 20% to 25% is required to be put up by that local jurisdiction or the applicant. And what our public-private partnership has accomplished has been the success in raising that funding that is needed so it doesn't put that burden on the city."

The newest section of the Wasson Way Trail opened in December.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.