Ashtabula County Metroparks is hosting a symbolic ground-breaking to signify the final stages of construction of the North Shore Trail in Ashtabula on Friday, October 11, 2019, at 4:00pm at the corner of Bridge Street and Goodwill Drive in Ashtabula Harbor. The long-anticipated Ashtabula Metroparks’ North Shore Trail is now expected to be finished in 2020, with request for construction bids sought in late 2019 by Metroparks. The 4.25-mile trail will continue the Western Reserve Greenway Trail from Trumbull County all the way to Ashtabula Harbor and Lake Erie at Walnut Beach. The North Shore Trail is the final terminus of what will be the 110 mile Great Lake to Rivers Trail.

The North Shore Trail is primarily on-road, with a combination of bike lanes, widened sidewalks, share-the-road sections, a small portion off-road trail, and utilization of existing sidewalks. Metroparks and its project consultant, the Environmental Design Group have worked closely with ODOT District 4 staff and the City of Ashtabula on the design, final renderings, maps and cross-sections of the route.

The North Shore Trail will begin at Lake Erie, wind its way through Ashtabula Harbor and the City of Ashtabula and connect to the Western Reserve Greenway’s HL Morrison Station Trailhead at West Avenue in Ashtabula.

Of course, for those beginning at the Morrison Station Trailhead, the trail makes its way north on West Avenue to Ashtabula Parks’ Smith Field before turning westward to Michigan Avenue.  The trail then continues off road through a vacated section of Michigan Avenue, picking up the roadway at 16th St to 8th Street. From 8th Street, the route crosses Lake Avenue, then heading northeast to Goodwill Drive at Ashtabula Harbor.

The trail will continue to Bridge Street, head up the Point Park steps utilizing a bike trough, head west from Point Park and the Maritime and Transportation Museum on Walnut Boulevard to Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum and finally to Walnut Beach and Lake Erie.  Alternative on-road striping and signage will also guide cyclists down Lake Avenue and other city streets.

“Ashtabula Metroparks gratefully acknowledges its partners in the project, as well as funders ODOT, CDC, ODNR, Robert S. Morrison Foundation, Ashtabula Foundation and others” commented  Metroparks’ Executive Director. “This $1.3 Million phase of the project is funded by Ohio Department of Transportation with a Civic Development Corporation matching grant. “Again, this project is 30 years in the making from conception. We have so many to thank, including our long time Board Member and project visionary Charlie Kohli and those of you here whom have persevered.” “Many of those involved had participated in multiple iterations and routes over time before settling on this practical, direct route.” “Maintenance and management of the on-road and off-road portions are covered by the MOU with City of Ashtabula” Frimerman added.

“The North Shore Trail, like the rest of the Western Reserve Greenway Trail and our Metroparks, will be protected and patrolled by our park rangers as well as our volunteer Bike Patrol”, noted Metroparks Board Vice President Marie Lane.

The North Shore Trail is considered a major link for bike trails throughout Ashtabula County, officials said. It is included in the city of Ashtabula’s and Ashtabula County’s land use plans. Next, Metroparks has secured initial funding to plan and begin the Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail, another long-awaited project that could spur both economic development and quality of life improvements in the county. Ashtabula County Metroparks is a statutorily created County park district founded in 1959.  Metroparks has a five-member Board of Park Commissioners which is responsible for governance and policy of the Metropark system. Ashtabula County Metroparks is primarily funded through a five year, ½ mill real estate property tax approved by the voters in 2014.  Metroparks first started receiving levy funds in 2016. Since 2016, Metroparks has improved and added amenities to seven of its ten open parks and has added 15 miles of hiking trails throughout Ashtabula County.

For more information on the North Shore Trail or Ashtabula Metroparks, visit www.ashtabulametroparks.com, like Metroparks on Facebook, or contact the Metroparks office at (440) 576-0717.