The 0.7-mile segment of the Hoover Trail along Dressler Road NW and Glenwood Street SW should be done by the end of October.
For years, running or biking from Price Park in North Canton to the Stark State College campus in Jackson Township could be dangerous.
Runners had to navigate a narrow shoulder on Glenwood Street SW and Dressler Road NW. Bicyclists didn't have much space to work with on a busy road.
But by November, walking, running or biking on that 0.7-mile stretch is expected to be much safer.
A 10-foot-wide concrete trail is being built on the south side of the roadways between the Pro Football Hall of Fame bridge and Price Park.
Trail users will be able to cross Glenwood at Price Park via a crosswalk with lights that will flash when someone is crossing. Trail users will cross Whipple Avenue NW by using the push button traffic signals.
Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Kovacs said the contractor is scheduled to complete the work — which started in mid-June and is about halfway done — by the end of October.
The trail will be a key link in Stark Parks' long-term plans to connect the Stark community with trails, said Sarah Buell, project manager for the Stark Park District. An $880,292 federal grant covered about 80 percent of the costs. Stark Parks provided a match of 20 percent from local property taxes. Under the grant rules, the ODOT had to manage the project.
By Thursday, workers had laid concrete between the Hall of Fame bridge and Promler. Much of the route east to Price Park had been graded, cleared and excavated.
Planning for the trail, dubbed Hoover Trail Phase IV, has been going on for at least four years.
And the project has had to overcome some obstacles:
The contractor had to grade some steep small hills along the southern edge of Dressler and will build a retaining wall there.
Workers had to move a large AT&T utility box.
The trail will zig zag approaching the Akron Metro railroad tracks so users don't stray onto the tracks without looking both ways.
The trail will narrow by a few feet to get around the brick North Canton city limits pillar next to Aultman North.
What comes next?
Buell said Stark Parks has not finalized how to connect this segment with the rest of the Hoover Trail at the North Canton YMCA, but it's leaning toward a trail that would go south, then east through the Fairways of North Canton golf course before heading north through the North Canton Middle School campus and residential neighborhoods to the Y.
Buell said the new segment was the easiest to build because it went through a mainly commercial area and impacted property owners the least.
She said Stark Parks is in discussions with Stark State College and Kent State University Stark about building a trail from the bridge through the campus to Frank Road. Future plans are to construct a trail north to the Akron-Canton Airport. Stark Parks has not yet obtained any funding for those plans.
Rick Altman, one of the owners of property along Dressler that includes a movie theater and the Table Six restaurant, said the new trail should benefit his tenants. He said he might install a bike rack at the theater.
"It certainly looks nice," he said. "If it connects everybody and they can get to the movie theater on their bike, they can get to Table Six. That's good for everyone."
Reach Repository writer Robert Wang at (330) 580-8327 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @rwangREP