By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- Mayor James Melfi has finally found a company to do title search work for the city's section of the Greater Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway.
The bike trail will eventually run from Lake Erie to the Ohio River with portions going through Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties.
Melfi said Monday that Utility Land Co. Inc. of Poland will be paid $1,500 to determine the owner or owners of the old rail line that will be used for the trail through Girard.
"We're really happy with the price," Melfi said, noting the project can't get under way until ownership is determined.
Search took months: It took four or five months to find a title search company that will do the work, said Julie Green, a member of the Trumbull County Planning Commission.
Melfi said other companies didn't want to do the complex work because of railroad consolidations and bankruptcies over the years.
It will be a "historical journey" to find the owners, the mayor asserted.
The bike path will run along the abandoned former Baltimore & amp; Ohio Railroad tracks, Green said.
The first phase of the pike path here will run from the Girard-McDonald Viaduct north to Weathersfield Township.
The second phase will be along the rail line, south of the viaduct to the Youngstown city limits.
Green said there is no way to know when contracts will be bid for the Girard section because it could take a year to determine ownership.
Funding sources: The 10-foot wide blacktop trail will be funded, Green explained, by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service and private donations.
Meanwhile, an engineering firm for the 15-mile section of the Western Reserve Greenway, from Champion Township to the Trumbull-Ashtabula County line, will be selected by the end of the week.
Green said work will be advertised in July 2002 and construction is expected to begin next summer.