By Kristin Rover
The Williamsburg to Batavia Hike Bike Trail is one step closer to being finished as construction is underway on phase two of the trail.
The trail begins in the village of Williamsburg, and when complete, will connect to the village of Batavia.
Several local political subdivisions and organizations are working together to complete the project, including the Clermont County Park District, the villages of Williamsburg and Batavia, Batavia and Williamsburg townships, the Clermont County Engineer’s Office, Ohio State Parks, United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and more.
The completed first phase of the trail, approximately 2.5 miles long, begins at the end of Broadway Street in the village of Williamsburg and ends at an overlook along Harsha Lake.
“This phase connects you to the state park area,” Chris Clingman, director of the Clermont County Park District, said about the second phase of the project.
Clingman said when completed, the second phase will go into East Fork State Park to the campground and give cyclists and hikers access to the lightly traveled park roads that they can also use.
Clingman said crews have been working to construct the portion of the trail that connects the overlook area with the campground road system.
While some of the work is new construction, Clingman said much of the trail is being created from old roads.
“We are reusing the old closed roads that were built when the lake was built,” Clingman said about the trail.
Clingman said the terrain of the trail will be different than many trails that are built on old railroads. He said the Williamsburg to Batavia trail will have hilly sections, unique views, and shared access at some points with vehicles.
“The best way I can describe it is talking a walk or a ride down an old country road,” Clingman said about the trail. “It is going to be a different kind of experience.”
Clingman said the trail is being built by phases as funding becomes available or as money is raised for the project.
He said the most recent phase was funded by a $412,800 Transportation Enhancement Grant through the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments with a local match of $120,819.
Organizers also hosted the Rock and Roast Fundraiser to raise money for the trail in January this year.
Williamsburg Mayor Mary Ann Lefker said that by using the old roads as well as some shared access roads, they have been able to piece together the trail more easily.
“In this case we’ve been able to get further than a lot of trail projects because we didn’t have to purchase property,” Lefker said.
Lefker said all of the organizations involved with the trail have worked together and shared resources to make the project happen.
“It is a big collaboration,” Lefker said.
She said the project benefits residents, business owners in the villages and home owners who live near the trail.
“On behalf of the villages, it opens the door for people who come and visit this park to be able to hike or bike into the the villages,” Lefker said. “And hopefully spend some money.”
Lefker said the trail increases property value and provides a nice amenity for home owners who live close.
She said she is excited to have one more phase of the trail finished, and is looking forward to having the entire trail available in the community.
“I am committed to staying in this until it’s finished,” Lefker said. “And that will be when we can physically hike or bike on a trail from Williamsburg to Batavia.”
The trail will be approximately 13-15 miles long when it is complete.
Clingman said the campground portion of the trail is expected to be complete by October.
“The next phases are funding dependent,” Clingman said.
Once funding is secured, phase three will take the trail from the campground to Zagar Road.
Phase one of the trail is open to the public. Trailhead parking is available at Harmony Hill Museum in Williamsburg, at Third Street and Main Street in the village, and at the Williamsburg Community Park.
For more information about the Williamsburg to Batavia Hike Bike Trail, visit www.clermontparks.org.