By Kristin Rover
Friends of the Little Miami State Park, an organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Little Miami State Park and bike trial, received a $150,000 grant in January to make improvements to the bike trail and surrounding park.
Steve Murphy, president of the board of directors, said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources approached the organization about the the grant opportunity.
“ODNR came to us and suggested we apply for this grant,” Murphy said. “It’s a Recreational Trails Program grant, and a four-to-one match.”
Murphy said the organization ran a pledge campaign to come up with the matching funds.
“Within 18 days we met our goal,” Murphy said.
He said they were notified that they received the grant from the Recreational Trails Program in January.
“At this point we’ve collected from 169 people who pledged,” Murphy said. “So far we’ve collected $34,134.”
Murphy said they only have a few thousand dollars more to collect to reach their match amount of $37,895.
He said the total grant amount of $150,000 will be put toward several specific improvements on the trail including, repairing old sections of the trail north of Loveland, improving drainage on part of the trail near Milford, and repaving some of the trail.
“The Loveland section of the trail goes back to 1983,” Murphy said. “The trail has got some age to it. We have five or six locations up north where we have to take out sections and just replace the asphalt.”
Murphy said the asphalt is separating and cracking in several areas and needs to be replaced.
He said they also have had a drainage problem on the trail near Milford.
“When it rains hard the trail is completely covered,” Murphy said.
He said they had surveyors on site at the location March 6 to figure out how the issue can be corrected.
“At that point, we are going to start in Milford and pave until we run out of money,” Murphy said.
He said the trial from Milford north has tree root encroachment that makes the trail bumpy.
“My bet is we are going to pave over the existing trail and then re-berm it,” Murphy said.
He said members of the organization are excited to be able to make improvements to the trail.
“This is incredibly important to us because it is some pretty serious dollars,” Murphy said about the grant funds.
He said it is also important to show the state and local governments that the organization is serious about raising funds and going after grants to improve the trail.
“It will show all of our constituents that we’re serious,” Murphy said. “We can go after serious money and perform.”
Murphy said they are planning to complete the improvements this spring in hopes of having the projects finished by June 1.
For more information about Friends of the Little Miami State Park, visit www.littlemiamistatepark.org.