No local tax dollars will be spent building the trail.
By SEAN BARRON
LAKE MILTON -- Beginning next summer, visitors to Lake Milton State Park will notice a dramatic change.
By then, a 11/4-mile multi-purpose trail will be in place to accommodate bird-watchers, rollerbladers, joggers, walkers and nature lovers.
On Sunday, 36 Navy Seabees provided free labor to work on part of the project's first phase, a 120-foot-long bridge over a section of the park's wetlands.
When completed, the trail, which will be from 8 to 10 feet wide, will snake around a portion of the park adjacent to the beach and picnic areas, said Harold Moore, operations director for the Mahoning County Green Team.
It also will be accessible for those with disabilities and should provide additional safety near Grandview Road -- which has no sidewalks -- Moore pointed out.
Moore said the wood and planks used in the bridge's construction are made from recycled lumber and contain recycled plastic bags and other materials.
Asphalt that will be laid on the trail's path contains about 10 percent chrome rubber made from scrap tires, Moore added.
No local tax dollars will be spent building the trail, Moore said.
Grants and donations
Brian Mitchell, a member of the Lake Milton Association, estimated that $80,000 will be spent on materials.
A $24,000 grant from the Mahoning County Green Team and a $47,000 federal Recreational Trails Grant will offset much of the cost, he said. Lafarge Construction Materials donated about 1,300 tons of slag for the project, Mitchell added.
Chief Select Dana Helman, a member of the Vienna-based reservists who took part in building the bridge, said the Seabees are the Navy's construction element and that they assist in various nonprofit projects when needed. In 1999, the Seabees helped build a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier at the park.
The bridge, as well as laying of blacktop slated for later this summer or next fall, is the first of three phases yet to be completed.
Phase II will include another, smaller bridge to be built after officials dig a trench and re-route a small portion of the waterway.
The third phase will likely require the Army Corps of Engineers' assistance in looking at how to deal with some erosion problems, Moore said.