GALION — The popular biking and walking trail along the Olentangy River will soon be longer.
The new extension begins at the south end of the existing path, just before reaching the wastewater treatment plant. There’s a hill to the west of the existing path where a local firm, Crawford Construction, is setting the grade this summer. They are also clearing trees, making drainage improvements, and redirecting water.
The new portion will go another half mile or so, along a wooded route to Biddle Road, giving walkers and bicyclists access to that main thoroughfare and Galion’s reservoirs less than a mile south.
There will also be a separate 4-foot chain-link fence installed to separate the path from nearby neighborhoods.
“It really helps the quality of life in our community, and we’re excited for it to open,” Mayor Tom O’Leary said. “Right now within Crawford County, one of the unmet needs is not enough biker/hiker paths. We’ve used our own local resources on this.”
Funding comes from the Egbert Freese Foundation funds, a private entity that donates an annual endowment to Galion for parks and recreation projects.
The mayor hopes for an autumn opening and ideally not too long after Labor Day.
The city already provides nearly a mile of scenic walking and cycling space, starting at the trail’s northern end on Harding Way West.
“We love the current portion, because you have a vision of something cool and actually executed it,” O’Leary added. “The vision has been that we build as far as Peco Park, on the north end, to connect up with countywide bike paths.”