Recycle the railroad: Dayton gets funds for rails-to-trails project

The city of Dayton has received what officials hope will be just the first piece of funding needed to acquire and transform an old rail corridor into a bike path and recreational trail.

The Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund has awarded the city $15,000 to serve as the federal funding match to buy a former Norfolk Southern rail corridor.

The proposed $5 million “Flight Line project” would transform the 6.5-mile track that begins east of the Oregon District, stretches through East Dayton and ends in Kettering.

The Flight Line would create a multi-use trail that connects thousands of residents into the region's existing trail system, while eliminating blight and adding new recreational amenities, according to the city's application for funds through the Dayton Development Coalition's Priority Development and Advocacy Committee (PDAC) process.

RELATED: Dayton could get ‘high line’ elevated bike trail like NYC, Chicago

The city remains in negotiations with Norfolk Southern to acquire the rail corridor, which likely is the largest hurdle facing the project, said Jon White, city of Dayton planner.

“Our vision is for a recreational trail and urban greenway, and we hope to have some linear parks along the corridor,” White said.

The city also is seeking Clean Ohio Fund grants to help cover the cost of acquisition.

The project would create a bike and recreational trail that is elevated for multiple blocks, similar to the much-longer "High-Line" public park built on a freight line in New York City and "The 606" trail in Chicago.

Dayton’s proposed rails-to-trail corridor is elevated for several blocks heading east, with views of the eastern edge of downtown, Webster Station and East Dayton.

If the rail line can be acquired, the project likely will occur in phases over multiple years, White said.

RELATED: City of Dayton seeks funding for rails-to-trails project

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