Harrison West Awarded Funds for the Olentangy Trail Connector

harrison west olentangy trailThe Harrison West Olentangy Recreation Trail connector has been recommended for funding by the city of Columbus under the Development Department’s 2012 Urban Infrastructure Recovery Fund (UIRF) Program. Back in May of 2012, attendees of the Harrison West Society meeting reviewed a list of possible improvements to our neighborhood and ranked them in order of importance. Extending the Olentangy trail connector behind Superior Beverage was one of the top priorities.

The society currently has at its disposal a number of funding sources for neighborhood projects. The Gowdy Field stipend, for example, is earmarked for green space acquisition and improvement and would be a good funding source for a community garden. We also have TIF funds, which have fewer use restrictions and could be used to fund street, lighting and overhead-line improvements. The society decided to apply for UIRF funds to complete the Olentangy trail connector project because of the program’s overall expense, it’s potential to benefit residents both inside and outside of Harrision West and its uniqueness. The society will partner some of its own dollars with the funds awarded through the UIRF grant to complete the connector.

The Olentangy Recreation Trail connector will extend the trail through Harrison West from the south end of Harrison Park to Goodale Street by following the Olentangy River behind Superior Beverage and Geer Gas. Currently, the trail shares Quality Place and Ingleside Drive, both of which are heavily traveled by trucks. The connector will protect pedestrian and bicycle traffic by moving them off those dangerous streets. Future improvements to the Goodale Street bridge over SR 315 will enable users of the trail to cross the highway and pick up the trail on the west side of the river and continue into downtown.

The executive team of the Harrison West Society will review the details of the funding and provide any comments or suggestions to the city by December 28, 2012. After the city has collected comments on all recommended projects, a final list of projects will be submitted to City Council for their approval. After that, the design and construction of the connector can begin.

Congratulations, Harrison West. Prepare to check off the first successful project on our improvements list!

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