By Nancy Allen
Grand Lake St. Marys State Park has received an $80,000 recreational trails grant to build a roughly 7,000-foot-long non-motorized trail along the western shore of the lake off West Bank Road in Celina.
Construction of the trail is expected to begin this fall, assistant state park manager Brian Miller said this morning.
The state park will provide about $21,000 in matching funds for the project through in kind services of labor, equipment and building materials, Miller said.
State park officials found out two weeks ago the park had been approved for the federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant money is funneled into the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Real Estate and Land Management, which administers the grant, Miller said.
The 10-foot wide asphalt trail will be for walking, bicycling, roller-blading, skating and skateboarding. The exact length of the trail will be determined by how much money is actually available for the estimated $101,000 project after bids come in, Miller said.
The trail would start near the boat launch ramp area on West Bank Road and continue south along the lake’s shore back into West Bank Park, an area with parking, green space, picnic tables, grills and restroom facilities, he said.
“ODOT will help us do construction and design plans this summer, and a statewide parks and rec. crew will be in this fall to build it,” Miller said.
The state park received the same grant funds for a trail that was constructed last summer along the East Bank in Auglaize County. That 7,000-foot-long trail begins at the intersection of Ohio 364 and Gordon Park Drive and travels through state park land and ends at the East Bank spillway on Ohio 364.
Miller said the West Bank trail fits in with a long-range plan to eventually have a non-motorized trail around the entire lake for the public to enjoy. The West Bank trail also could be connected to a planned boardwalk along West Bank Road in Celina or to the nearby Celina-Coldwater bike path for additional recreational opportunities, he said.