trail system presented to Toronto Recreation Committee | News, Sports, Jobs

PROPOSED TRAILS — Volunteer David Core shared a proposal for a series of trails in Toronto during Thursday’s meeting of the city’s recreation committee. –Warren Scott

TORONTO — On Thursday, members of the city’s recreation committee heard a proposal for a series of recreational trails through Toronto’s Union Cemetery, the Fairview Heights area and possibly Mount Nebo.

Resident David Core said much of the system will include trails already in place on city property.

Core said that during the pandemic, many people have developed a greater appreciation for the outdoors, and the city’s proximity to the Ohio River and scenic mountainside would attract many visitors interested in hiking its trails. .

With the help of fellow volunteer Brenda Cicch, Core presented a slideshow detailing an initiative they dubbed Hike Toronto.

Among the supporters is Mayor John Parker, who said he plans early next year to apply for a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the effort.

He said the funds would primarily be used to map, market and maintain the trails.

Core said the trail system could start with two roads at Toronto’s Union Cemetery that have been chipped and sealed by the city.

Earlier this year, the Toronto Union Cemetery Association turned it over to the city, citing a lack of funds to maintain it.

Parker said he’s seen a lot of people walking or jogging on Cemetery Road since the city upgraded it, and it wouldn’t be difficult to create a connection between its upper and lower halves.

Core said another connection could be made between the cemetery and the Fairview Heights area, where residents have maintained a natural trail system on city property.

Parker said he was unaware of the area but upon seeing it, “I’m amazed at how nice it is.”

Core said the trail could pass Franklin Avenue and the shops and restaurants to the Wallace Heights area, forming a loop.

Parker said the city should seek easements for the Wallace Heights area.

Proponents of the project have also considered an extension to the Mount Nebo area, where housing development is underway.

Core also suggested that trails could be established from a hillside area known as The Knob to the John F. Kennedy Highway or Wildcat Hollow at the north end of town.

But he said the cemetery road would be the easiest place to start.

Core and others suggested that the historical aspects of the cemetery and the natural beauty of the area could be highlighted with signs with QR codes with which trail users can access information online.

He said Erica Lyons, an agriculture and natural resources educator with the Ohio State University Extension Service, agreed to help with several signs depicting wildlife along the trails.

Fourth Ward Councilor Greg Herrick, who chairs the recreation committee, suggested there could be special events, with food trucks, near the trails.

Core said dinners with special themes, from fairy tales to clambakes, could be held on the trails.

He also suggested that solar panels could be pursued to provide lighting for nighttime use of trails and possibly campers.

There was discussion about whether trails should be accessible to all-terrain vehicles, with some saying they should be restricted to pedestrians because ATVs can damage trails.

But Core said it might be possible to designate trails for ATVs or horses.

In other matters, Herrick advised that the mayor had appointed Diane Julio to a vacant seat on the joint recreation council formed with the City of Toronto schools.

Independent of the city recreation committee, the council consists of three members appointed by the mayor and three members appointed by the superintendent of schools.

Parker said Julio, a former Toronto councilor and director of the JB Green Team, “brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the position.”

In related matters, the mayor said he will need to appoint a new director of recreation by November 1, following Rod Henry’s recent resignation from his post, effective October 31.

Henry helped open a new town recreation center at the old Karaffa School, which was transferred to the town by the school district for $1.

Parker said RSV Inc. crews are expected to raze the Roosevelt Building, which previously served as the city’s recreation center, in the near future.

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