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Park plans to extend trail

Staff photo / Ed Runyan Nick Derico, natural-resource steward for the Mill Creek MetroParks, stands at the north end of the first phase of the East Park Hike and Bike Trail along East Park Drive in the park. The second phase will continue behind him, through the woods to avoid pedestrians having to share East Park Drive at left. At right is the driveway to the overflow parking lot for Lanterman’s Mill.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mill Creek MetroParks is having a virtual open house Saturday to Oct. 18 for a 1,700-foot continuation of the East Park Hike and Bike Trail, a short distance north of Lanterman’s Mill and U.S. Route 62.

Those wishing to view information on the project and / or comment on the project should visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org/east-park/.

The project would extend the trail starting at the Lanterman’s Mill overflow parking lot a short distance north of Route 62. It would travel north 1,700 feet parallel to East Park Drive.

The project, called the East Park Hike and Bike Trail Phase II, would connect the East Newport Hike and Bike Trail, which is south of Route 62, to the East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail to the north.

Phase I, immediately north of Route 62, is about 750 feet long and was created in 2019. It also improved the Route 62 (Canfield Road) intersection and provided greater safety and connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists.

Phase II would be created in a wooded area alongside of East Park Drive. The project would include clearing, stump removal, excavation, embankment work and putting down an aggregate base, as well as asphalt and concrete, according to documents found on the website.

Nick Derico, natural-resource steward for the MetroParks, said the project would involve “minimal” tree removal, especially of larger trees. Sixty-six trees were identified in the project area a being roosting trees for protected bat species. None of those trees will be impacted. Nor will any wetlands be impacted, Derico said.

The 8-foot-wide asphalt trail will complete a trail system of more than 7 miles dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle traffic that runs from U.S. Route 224 in Boardman to Old Furnace Road near the Ford Nature Education Center in Youngstown.

Currently, hikers and bikers have to share the roadway or use a sidewalk in the area where Phase 2 is being planned. “Now, they will have their own hike and bike lane,” Derico said.

The cost of the project is estimated at $170,000, of which 80 percent will come from a federal grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation and the 20 percent matching funds from the MetroParks.

The goal is to begin construction next May or June, Derico said.

The federal funding through ODOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program requires the public hearing to allow the public to comment on the project, including environmental, social and historical impacts.

The Metroparks is hoping to have the go-head on environmental considerations by January, Derico said.

“Our goal is to share project information, get people’s feedback, hopefully get support for the project. You never know where a valuable comment is going to come from. Maybe a valuable bit of information we were not aware of becomes apparent through public comment,” Derico said.

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