By Kristin Rover
Bicycling enthusiasts along with government and park district officials gathered for a ribbon cutting and ceremonial bike ride for the second phase of the Williamsburg to Batavia Hike Bike Trail Oct. 26.
“I am glad you are here celebrating with us,” Chris Clingman, executive director of the Clermont County Park District, said.
The second phase of the trail, which was recently completed, extends the trail to the campground area of East Fork State Park in Williamsburg and gives cyclists access to roads in the park.
The first phase, which is approximately 2.5 miles long begins on Broadway Street in the village of Williamsburg and ends at an overlook along Harsha Lake.
The trail will eventually connect the village of Williamsburg to the village of Batavia.
Several local political subdivisions and organizations are working together to complete the trail including Clermont County Park District, the villages of Williamsburg and Batavia, Batavia and Williamsburg townships, Clermont County Commissioners, Ohio State Parks, and more.
“This is a collaborative effort,” Clingman said about the project.
Clermont County Commissioner Ed Humphrey the trail is a wonderful thing for the community.
“We are really proud to be a part of this,” Humphrey said. “It is not only an economic development tool but it is also great for those of us who live close.”
Humphrey said they are looking forward to being able to complete the trail in the county.
He attended the ceremony with Commissioner David Uible, who participated in the ceremonial bike ride along with Clermont County Prosecutor Vince Faris and other guests.
Also during the ceremony, officials announced plans to construct a memorial for former Batavia Township Trustee Jim Bushman at the site of the bike trail near the campground.
Bushman’s step-son Jason Fraley described the plans for the memorial area that will also serve as a gathering area at the trailhead.
“There will be concrete bike racks and a sitting area,” Fraley said. “I think it will be a nice improvement.”
Clingman said much of the second phase of the trail was funded by a $412,000 Transportation Enhancement Grant through the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments with a local match of $120,819.
Organizers are working on raising funds to complete phase three of the trail, and are determined to get the trail finished.
“I am committed to staying in this until it’s finished,” Williamsburg Mayor Mary Ann Lefker said previously about the project. “And that will be when we can physically hike or bike on a trail from Williamsburg to Batavia.”
Phase three of the project will extend the trail from the campground to Zagar Road in Batavia.
When the trail is complete it will be approximately 13-15 miles long.
For more information about the Williamsburg to Batavia Hike Bike Trail, visit www.clermontparks.org.