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Old trolley car line may become trail

8/2/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

SPRINGFIELD — A path used by trolley cars from the late 1800s to the early 1900s in Springfield Township and Lakemore Village may become a 1.5-mile recreational trail for bicyclists and walkers.

The goal is to make it possible to go from Springfield High School to Springfield Lake, according to Springfield Township Trustee Dean Young.

“This is something that has been talked about in the community for 20 years,” he said. The new trail would be “a real positive that would add to the benefits people could enjoy recreationally,” he added.

The Springfield Township Board of Trustees recently submitted an application for a $75,000 Community Development Block Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Those funds would be used to purchase the land needed for the trail, a right-of-way owned by FirstEnergy, according to Young.

FirstEnergy has offered to allow the township to purchase the entire right-of-way from Canfield Road to Hayne Road in Springfield, running through Lakemore, according to the grant application.

The trail could connect Springfield Lake Park, the Senior Playground, Springfield Town Hall, Tri-County Plaza, Springfield High/Middle School and Waterworks Park in Lakemore, according to the proposal.

Young said the funds will hopefully be approved this calendar year, and the project could start as early as next year.

The grant application submitted by trustees indicates that the total project is estimated to cost $97,000.

“I envision a day when a family could park their car at the high school, get on their bicycles and bicycle to the lakefront — maybe carry a picnic lunch — enjoy the lakefront and bicycle back,” said Young.

People already regularly walk through portions of the area proposed for the trail, but the area is not maintained, he noted.

Developing the trail, which would probably be surfaced with crushed limestone, would make it a safer environment, he added.

“If a community is lucky enough to have a rail line, they have the beginning of a trail,” said Young.

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