SPRINGFIELD TWP. Springfield Township and village of Lakemore officials, along with residents, recently met at Springfield Junior/Senior High School to present updated information on the Spartan Trail.
During the Sept. 12 meeting, Springfield trustee Dean Young presented information about the trail and said a long journey has begun.
"Every trail starts with a plan," he said. "It is aspirational."
Young said until now the plan has been oral but now officials have something in writing. He said, however, the trail still aspirational as it is at the beginning stages and he showed a color booklet that depicted the trails and parks in the township, as well as some history of the area and filled with photographs and mapping out the current trails and the future of the Spartan Trail. He said the booklet was the hard work of former Parks Director Doug Foltz, who spent hours putting it together. Foltz was present at the meeting and he said a lot of people were involved in the plan and the booklet.
Young said in order to look at the future, the township took a look back at the interesting past of the village and the township. He talked about the different partners that have been a part of the planning and developing of trails. He thanked everyone for the support, including that received from the Springfield Township Women’s Club, businesses and corporate entities, as well as the Lakemore Plaza owners. The village obtained funding to construct a portion of the trial along the newly constructed road to the plaza. Summit County, the Summit County Public Health, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Erie Canalway have awarded grants to the township. Young said there were many that granted right aways for them to take the trail through their properties.
The trail is planned to go as far west to the sign that says Half Day Farm. That portion now runs parallel with State Route 224. He introduced those in attendance from the county, Health Department and the Canalway Coalition. Future plans include the trail to run along State Route 91 to the high school and continue south as far as Lake Township.
Young recognized the village of Lakemore for its support. He said the part of the trail that goes through the trolley line would not be possible without the permission of the village and the easement from Ohio Edison. Young said that he and Lakemore Mayor Rick Justice had many meetings with the plaza owners and traveled to Pennsylvania to meet with them face to face.
"It really has been a help to have the village of Lakemore support us," Young said. "Council has been very supportive. That is why this is not Springfield’s Trail or Lakemore’s trail, it is the Spartan Trail. We are all connected by this school and the two entities work together."
Young said the work that has been done on the trial can be seen from Water Works Park - the removal of trees soon to be followed by excavation.
Justice said he has learned a lot and he has spent so much time with so many people that have helped in some way toward the trail.
"I love that they call it the Spartan Trail," he said. "We are all Spartans. That is the key to success in this area for our kids, for our schools, that we all work together."
Questions from the attendees included one from Dave Chapman about the security that would be on the trail. He lives =on the trolley tracks and has had break-ins, fires and other issues due to kids hanging out on the tracks. He said he needed some guarantee that he would have protection.
Young said that they would be taking each section as it goes along to deal with the situations. He said that in discussions he has had, it was found that once a trail is utilized by families, they report anything that might be an issue.
Lloyd McVey asked how it is getting paid for.
"We are going to have to look carefully as we progress as to how we are going to pay for it," said Young.
So far, the trail has been paid for with grants, some matching that the township had to pay a portion.
McVey said he appreciates all of this is nice and he can’t wait until it is done but added that roads, police and fire departments must be a priority.
Young said that is why it is a journey as officials are focusing on those priorities and doing what they can do while maintaining basic services. Young assured McVey that services are a priority with trustees.
Shaun Kiley asked what the amount the township has spent so far and what is the dollar amount they plan to spend. He also asked if there is money budgeted toward it.
Young said there is some money budgeted and that he did not have any figures off the top of his head, but could get them.
The Spartan Trail Committee is selling T-shirts for $10, $12, $15 and $17.
It is anticipated that the trail along the lakefront will be expanded by 900 feet this year.