Council seeks grants for U.S. 20 bike trail
By Becky Brooks
Bellevue City Council found a great way to start 2013 by learning that the Recreation Department has been approved for a $95,000 grant to acquire the Knights of Columbus property, discovering a developer intends to purchase and renovate a local apartment complex, and finally approving a resolution to allow the city to seek three grants to extend the North Coast Inland Trail into downtown from the west.
For Monday’s first meeting of the year, council had a bushel of information handed to them in a 45-minute work session and a 30-minute regular meeting.
Rec. Director Marc Weisenberger, Law Director David Wallingford and Safety-Service Director Jeffrey Crosby asked the council at its 7 p.m. work session to add a resolution onto its agenda for the night to approve seeking grants for the bike trail extension into downtown Bellevue from Cty. Rd. 177.
This project would address half of the trail through the city and a future project would address a second section from downtown to Prairie Road, officials reported.
They also requested the resolution be approved in one night as an emergency as the application date is only weeks away.
The city will seek grants from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources through the Recreational Trails Program and Clean Ohio Trail Fund. The resolution, which later passed unanimously, 7–0, in the council meeting, will allow Weisenberger to file for the grants.
Crosby explained that if the city receives those grants that money and the city’s in-kind services of planning and design will be put up as matching funds to seek a larger Ohio Department of Transportation grant for the project.
The project on the west side would cost approximately $860,000, the Safety-Service Director said.
Crosby pointed out the city is also working with the Rec. Department to plan the development of the new downtown park, which will be located where the former junior high building stood on North Street.
“This bike trail would help to marry this whole thing up,” he said about providing a trail from Cty. Rd. 177 and The Bellevue Hospital to the new park.
The safety-service director said the plan for the city section of the bike trail links Cty. Rd. 177 to downtown as far as the NKP and Mad River Railroad Museum.
The trail would be incorporated into a larger sidewalk along the south side of U.S. 20.
“It’s all city right-of-way,” Crosby pointed out about the land which will be used. He said that purchasing additional land would not be required. Crosby said some trees may need to be eliminated in a few locations.
Weisenberger said the new route will be much safer than the Cty. Rd. 292 trail on the road to Cty. Rd. 191 public roads which the city now has marked to finish the trail into the city from Cty. Rd. 177.
City officials will be working today with Steve Gruner, director of the Sandusky County Park District, in completing the applications for the grants.
During the work session, Weisenberger also announced he has received notification that the city has secured the $95,000 grant it was seeking to purchase the Knights of Columbus building and property adjoining the Community Center. He added he has not yet received the paperwork back on the project.
Also at the work session, Council President Karen Justice advised council members that WSOS is seeking a resolution of support for efforts being made by a developer the agency is working with to acquire Sir Frederick Estates and rehabilitate it with a $5 million investment. The facility would continue to be a low income facility, Justice said. Council members asked Wallingford to draw up the resolution for the next meeting.