Ashtabula County Metroparks held a photographic event to kick off the start of the design and construction process for the first stretch of its Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail on Friday, September 27, 12:00 noon, at the trail head located at Maple Street, Andover (next to the Andover Village Municipal Building).
This event was held to commemorate Ashtabula County Metroparks’ ODOT Transportation Alternative Program Grant Award in providing matching grant funds to help to plan and complete the 3.51 miles of the Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail Phase 1.1. These funds will make a significant improvement in the opportunities for fitness, recreation and conservation enjoyment of some of Ashtabula County’s finest natural resources and amenities throughout the county. The grant will cover up to $1.125 Million of an estimated $2.1 Million project to complete the first 3.51 miles of trail from Andover Village northwest to Leon Road. Metroparks has matching grant requests into the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Civic Development Corporation of Ashtabula County to try to cover most of the funding gap.
The Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail Project and Phase 1.1 will impact and enhance the
lives of Ashtabula County residents and visitors, improve operations, streamline costs, add
visitors by creating a community-supported, volunteer-mobilized (with assistance in
maintenance and preparation) anchor connecting trail that will undergird/jumpstart the
development of a long awaited trail segment of the Industrial Heartland Trail Corridor from
Clarion, Pittsburgh and Jamestown, PA to Ashtabula Harbor and Lake Erie.
The Pymatuning Valley Greenway Project is intended to add a paved off-road trail linkage
to connect in this first phase, rural SE Ashtabula County townships with Andover to provide
outdoor, healthful, fun and family oriented recreational opportunities to attract existing
and new Ashtabula residents and visitors to share in the open space and habitat diversity
and richness throughout the largest County in Ohio. This Project directly advances the mission of ACMP and allows for cost-effective means to provide a long-needed capital
improvement which will significantly improve the quality of life for families to enjoy the outdoors here in all four seasons. The Project would provide the first of the matching funds for engineering, design and construction of the first 3.51 Mile stretch of the Pymatuning Greenway, which will in turn will leverage future state and federal funds for future phases of the Greenway Trail to ultimately provide an off-road connection from the Western Reserve Greenway and central Ashtabula County with Pymatuning Lake and rural southeastern Ashtabula County and western Pennsylvania.
Enhancing and Emphasizing Ashtabula County’s strengths
Ashtabula County is blessed with Lake Erie and Pymatuning Lake coastlines, four State Scenic
Rivers, 19 covered bridges, nearly 50 miles of dedicated paved and 25 miles of unpaved trails,
and hundreds of miles of rural roads suitable for both car and non-motorized
transportation /sightseeing. In addition, the County has thousands of charming historic
buildings along with quaint villages and crossroads that are reachable within an hour’s time.
Bike trail villages such as Oil City, PA have benefited economically from having the
bike trail traversing its environs (PA Environmental Council), drawing visitors from Pittsburgh,
Clarion, Erie and other cities. To this end, as our recent grant proposals to ODOT and ODNR
have documented, the proposed Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail will be an anchor in the
local employment transportation, scenic, tourism economic engine by providing safe and
more direct transportation to and from schools, jobs, state park and wildlife areas,
campgrounds, and linkages with Pennsylvania attractions and tourism draws. Noting these
elements, the Village of Andover, Pymatuning Valley Public Schools, three nearby townships,
the Ashtabula County Commissioners, CDC, state and federal elected officials and many
others have written letters of support for Metroparks’ project to develop the Pymatuning
Valley Greenway Trail with public funds.
The Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail helps Metroparks fulfill its goal of serving the entire
county by providing a transportation and recreational linkage from Pymatuning State Park to
Dorset, Jefferson and to the Western Reserve Greenway Trail. It is the next major trail
undertaking promised to Ashtabula Countians and will provide greater access to
employment, education and recreation opportunities.
The project provides an off-road route to bring riders and walkers within close proximity to
Pymatuning State Park, 1000-acre Dorset Wildlife Area, a portion of Ashtabula County
currently not served by Ashtabula County Metroparks. It will provide a complementary tool
and venue for park-goers and guests. The Project initiates the creation of a whole new
dimension in the county’s trails and outdoors landscape. Ultimately, the PV Greenway Trail
will bring a broader cross-section of both tourists and residents alike to appreciate Ashtabula
County’s outdoors for fun, for health and for life.
The trail design and construction process follows an acquisition process completed in 2003 which was funded through Clean Ohio Conservation Funds. That acquisition and its funding strictly prohibited the use of motorized vehicles such as ATVs and motorcycles, etc. “That ship has sailed”, noted Larry Frimerman, Executive Director of Ashtabula County Metroparks. “The property today prohibits the use of motorized vehicles, and violators will be stopped regardless as to whether the trail is constructed or not”, he added. “The surveys and public forums held throughout the county showed tremendous support for the Pymatuning Valley Greenway Trail, he continued.
Ashtabula County Metroparks is an Ohio Revised Code statutory park district providing quality park experiences in ten currently open parks covering over 1,200 acres of publicly accessible parkland throughout Ashtabula County and founded in 1959. It owns and manages 30 miles of paved, ADA accessible greenway and bike trails as well as more than 15 miles of primitive trails throughout its park system. Ashtabula County Metroparks is primarily funded through a five-year parks levy which passed in 2014, which has permitted the significant expansion of its park holdings and open parks. Since 2014, Metroparks has tripled the number of open parks and publicly accessible acreage as well as adding amenities throughout the Western Reserve Greenway Trail and each of its open parks.