By Chris Mosby, Sun News.
The city is exploring options that could eventually lead to the opening of a leg of the Lake-to-Lake Metropark trail in Brook Park.
The city is working in conjunction with Reveille, a city planning firm, and Hatch, Mott, Macdonald, a consulting engineering firm, to apply for a grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.
The maximum grant awarded by NOACA is $75,000. Communities must use the grant to hire a consultant. There are usually 12-15 entrants selected annually.
The grants fall under the Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative.
According to the NOACA web site, the governing board allocates approximately $1 million annually for the initiative. The program seeks to strengthen community livability. Grant recipients must submit monthly status reports.
If the city received a grant they would be able to conduct a study that could then lead to the design and construction of a connector trail.
It’s still very early in the process according to Reveille Principal Owner Glenn Grisdale. He said that the application deadline for the grants doesn’t arrive for a few weeks and that it is possible for the city to not receive the money.
Grisdale helped the city prepare its master plan in 2011 and 2012. During that planning process the city identified a few themes of improvement. Included among the themes were improving corridor planning, enhancing city facilities, and improving community image and identity.
He said that he recently met with Mayor Mark Elliott and Economic Development Coordinator Lisa Zamiska. The trio discussed projects that could help implement sections of the master plan.
Working with the administration, Grisdale identified three possible areas for study: the community core (city hall), snow road revitalization (Brookgate Shopping Center) and the Abram Creek Greenway (potential Lake-to-Lake trail).
Of the three options, all agreed that the Greenway appeared to have the best chance of success and could represent a great deal to the community.
“It would enhance residents non-motorized access to recreation facilities and potentially provide a connection to the Lake-to-Lake trail,” he said during a phone interview on May 28.
Elliott said he preferred the Greenway project because the city has already invested some money in the area, paying for the demolition of old, unused city facilities on the property. He noted that the city has also been in serious conversations with the Cleveland Metroparks.
He said that he anticipates the city getting the money. Grisdale was more cautious, noting the competitive nature of grant funding.
Elliott said that if the city were to receive the funds the study would begin next year. He was optimistic about the project.
“This is another piece that gets us closer to making the master plan a reality,” he said.