State awards Greene County half million for new trail in Yellow Springs

Greene County is slated to receive a portion of a $6.64 million statewide grant that’s aimed at improving trails for hiking, biking, running and other outdoor activities, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced Friday.

The county will be awarded $500,000 for a new trail in the Village of Yellow Springs that will be called Mary’s Way. It’s named after the late Mary Donahoe, who, along with her husband Rick previously donated crucial part of the land on which the trail be build, according to officials at Agraria, a regenerative agriculture center.

Once completed, Mary’s Way will be a nearly one-mile asphalt trail that will link Agraria with Yellow Springs High School, the village and Antioch College. The trail will begin on East Enon Road, just south of the high school, and end at the front campus of the Agraria.

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“From its conception, the (trail) idea came from Agraria,” said Gabby Loomis-Amrhein, a naturalist at Agraria and the center’s land manager. “We’re on a very fast road (Dayton Yellow Springs Road.) and it’s the only access to our front campus. Because the road is so fast, it limits access to folks who cannot drive or are maybe too young to drive. Really, one of the big drives for us is we do a lot of education, and we’re looking for school aged kids to walk out with their teachers for field trips.”

Agraria plans to place educational signage along the path, Loomis-Amrhein said.

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The grants are being awarded through the Clean Ohio Trails Fund, which works to improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans, according to an ODNR release. In addition to Greene County, funding will go toward 19 other trail projects in Ashtabula, Clinton, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lorain, Medina, Summit, Warren, and Williams counties.

Sarah Wickham, ODNR’s chief of communications, said priority was given to projects that link to statewide and regional trails, long distance trails, trails that link to other trails and trails that link to communities, community resources and neighborhoods and population centers.

Grant recipients will provide a 25% match for their projects, according to ODNR.

“The Clean Ohio Trails Fund continues to improve access to recreational opportunities for all Ohioans,” Mertz said. “Trails are a safe and fun way for people of all ages and backgrounds to connect with nature.”

Ohioans approved the establishment of the $400 million bond program in 2000. This is the 14th round of funding to be awarded through the Clean Ohio Trails Fund. To date, the fund has awarded more than $93.31 million.

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