WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners Wednesday approved contracts with two consulting companies to move forward with the fourth and final phase of the Western Reserve Greenway Bike Trail.
Commissioner Dan Polivka said the project is a “continuation of creating a better quality of life” for Trumbull County residents. Phase four will add four miles to the trail to connect Warren and Niles, and extend through parts of Howland and Weathersfield townships.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $3.2 million, Polivka said, and will be supported in large part by a $2.6 million federal grant.
A local match of $600,000 is required to secure the grant, Polivka said. So far, $275,000 has been acquired, and the rest will come from more local grants and donations.
According to Polivka, 24 miles of the trail already run through Trumbull County.
Zachary Svette, executive director of the Trumbull County MetroParks and program administrator, will be working with MS Consultants, Inc., and Bowman Appraisal Services, Inc., to prepare sites for an extension of the bike trail. MS, a Youngstown-based company, will be working on right-of-way services, and Bowman, located in Alliance, will be doing appraisals for the same areas.
Last week, a public hearing attended by more than 20 people was held to comment on the final section. A few residents expressed concern about truck traffic in the Burton Street area, Svette said.
Svette said the goal is to have more than 110 miles of bike trail spanning four counties and connecting Lake Erie in Ashtabula to the Ohio River in East Liverpool. The trail will be called the Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway.
He said the final section is about 3.5 miles from Burton Street on the southside of Warren to state Route 169 in Niles. The proposed route will go through some industrial areas in Warren, some light traffic and city streets.
Svette said there is a trailhead in downtown Niles near the railroad tracks.
“This will be the final section needed to connect Warren and Niles,” he said.
Svette said construction on the final Trumbull County phase is expected to be done by 2022. He said a feasibility study was done on all possible options for the trail before planners settled on the route.
Trumbull County MetroParks is accepting comments regarding the project’s design and social, economic and environmental impacts on residences, businesses and the community until May 21. Comments can be submitted to: Trumbull County MetroParks, attention: Zachary Svette, 185 E. Market St., 2nd Floor, Warren, OH 44481.
Svette said the county commissioners will review all comments received for the project.