Source: Cincinnati Business Courier, Bill Cieslewicz
Fifteen organizations in Butler and Warren counties have partnered to re-energize a 2002 plan to connect Greater Cincinnati’s two longest trails.
Spearheaded by Green Umbrella’s Tri-State Trails initiative, the goal of the Miami 2 Miami Action Plan is to outline a path forward to complete the multi-use trail network that will connect Hamilton to Mason via the Little Miami Scenic Trail and Great Miami River Trail.
The Miami 2 Miami Connection Feasibility Study was originally conducted 15 years ago, led by OKI Regional Council of Governments. The study recommended a 125-mile network of multi-use trails, bike lanes and shared roads with 84 of those miles identified as priority corridors. Since 2002, 36 miles of the network have been constructed and an additional 37 miles outside of the original project scope now exist.
“Liberty Township and neighboring communities have experienced significant growth over the past 15 years, and our residents are demanding more facilities for walking and biking,” Liberty Township trustee Christine Matacic, who helped organize and lead the 2002 plan, said in a press release.
“Communities and developers around Butler County are building trails to improve quality of life, increase property values, and spur economic development. If we all collaborate to complete the Miami 2 Miami Connection, the benefits will increase exponentially for our region.”
Seven communities that the network plans to traverse through – Hamilton, Fairfield, Mason, and the townships of Fairfield, West Chester, Liberty and Deerfield – have passed a memorandum of understanding solidifying their commitment to collaborate to plan, construct and maintain the trail system.
Five additional stakeholders (Monroe, MetroParks of Butler County, Butler County Transportation Improvement District, Butler County Visitors Bureau,and Butler Tech) and three community foundations (Community Foundation of West Chester-Liberty, Hamilton Community Foundation and Fairfield Community Foundation) have contributed to the Miami 2 Miami Action Plan.
Led by Tri-State Trails, the project design team includes Human Nature and AECOM.
“Hamilton’s investment in the Great Miami River Trail is increasing economic activity and improving the vibrancy of our downtown,” said Hamilton City Council member Rob Wile, an avid cyclist. “The Miami 2 Miami Connection presents a tremendous opportunity to connect to other destinations and the Little Miami Scenic Trail.”
“Mason has been steadily investing in trail connectivity in the city for more than a decade. With nearly 30 miles of existing trails, we look forward to completing our eastern segment of the Miami 2 Miami Connection by 2022, linking the Little Miami Scenic Trail to our network,” said Mason Mayor Victor Kidd. “Our business community values the trail network as an amenity to attract and retain a talented workforce.”
The Little Miami Scenic Trail is the longest connected trail in Tri-State Trails’ 10-county service area, spanning more than 75 miles from Cincinnati to Springfield. It is also the southern leg of the 320-mile Ohio to Erie Trail connecting Cincinnati to Cleveland.
The Great Miami River Trail is the second-longest trail with plans to span more than 95 miles to connect Fairfield to Piqua, of which 83 miles exist and 12 miles are currently being planned.