By Timothy Cox
Construction on the estimated $1.75 million lakefront walkway could begin later this year.
Celina Rotary Club members hope the walkway eventually will bear the club's name after a donation of $150,000 toward the project was made Tuesday. The project also received $250,000 secured from the state budget by state Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina.
The walkway is to run from the lighthouse in Celina to the state park boat ramp on West Bank Road.
Officials speaking at the Rotary Club meeting Tuesday praised the project, saying it will enhance this end of the lake. State Park Manager Craig Morton said the walkway would open up the west side of the lake to more activity. Mercer County Community Development Director Larry Stelzer said the west bank would become a "destination point," after the walkway is built.
Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue credited the prior administration of Paul Arnold for conceiving the idea and beginning the planning stages. "I'm happy to see it progressing under my watch," LaRue said.
Ceremonial checks were presented to the city at Tuesday's meeting. The Rotary donation will come as annual payouts of $15,000 for 10 years. The first $30,000 from Rotary will be used for engineering and design of the walkway.
Harley Jones, representing Faber, who was busy with budget business in Columbus, presented the $250,000 from the state.
The remaining $1.35 million balance of the project is to be paid for through general obligation bonds, said Celina community development consultant Kent Bryan. Bids could be sought early this fall, he said.
The walkway, originally pitched years ago as a boardwalk, will be a concrete path with a grassy strip between the path and West Bank Road. The project will involve filling in about 25 feet of the lake with stone and a new concrete seawall. The concrete path would be built on top of that.
The path and the grassy area will both be about 12 feet wide.
Officials also plan to design sections of the path that would jut out about 10 feet further than the rest of the path. These areas could be used by fishermen or anyone who wants to take a break along the walkway, Bryan said.
City officials still are awaiting Army Corps of Engineers approval to fill in part of the lake. The application -- if approved -- would allow for future extensions of the walkway, most likely along Lake Shore Drive.
Some additional work could be bid along with the walkway, but the work would be contracted only if the bids are favorable, Bryan said. Alternate bids could include the milling and repaving of West Bank Road and the construction of rock piers to form small marinas along the pathway.
Celina City Council members still will have to approve the bidding and bonding process.