Long-awaited bikeway linking downtown Dayton to Wright Patterson Air Force Base opens

A bikeway that connects downtown Dayton to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Miami Valley’s regional trail network is scheduled to officially open June 21.

With the completion of the new 3.6 mile leg called the Mad River Bikeway extension, downtown Dayton and the more than 330 miles of trails in the regional bikeway system are now connected with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, the Huffman Prairie Trail and the Kauffman Avenue Bikeway which extends to Wright State University and Fairborn, Five Rivers MetroParks said.

The new bikeway segment is also part of the multistate, 4,600 mile North Country/Buckeye Trail that continues past Fairborn by roadways to Springfield and beyond, Five Rivers said.

Workers this week are finishing up the paving of the bikeway and installing signage and safety features, said

Amy Forsthoefel of Five Rivers.

Planning began on the Mad River Bikeway extension in 2003 with funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation through the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The total budget to build the route was more than $3 million, Five Rivers said.

The new section of paved bikeway offers views of the Mad River and passes Eastwood MetroPark. “The pathway passes an area where we have seen bald eagles nesting, under a 1918 railroad tunnel and over the top of Huffman Dam,” Joe Zimmerman, project manager for Five Rivers MetroParks, said.

The extension also passes the Hanitch-Huffman house, the home to Colonel Frank T. Huffman, whose Huffman Manufacturing Company came to national prominence with the Huffy bicycle.

“This trail has been a long time coming and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our friends at the Miami Conservancy District,” Zimmerman said. “Their help with planning and infrastructure kept the project moving. We know that local cyclists will appreciate this extension and make great use of it.”

The grand opening will be 11:30 a.m. June 21, at the Eastwood MetroPark main parking lot, 1385 Harshman Road in Dayton.

A group bike ride on the new bikeway from Eastwood MetroPark to Huffman MetroPark will follow.

More information is available at: www.metroparks.org/cycling or calling (937) 275-PARK (7275).

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