By Jennifer Rodriguez
Mill Creek Park is a historic part of Youngstown, and soon it will run through Youngstown State University.
An expansion of the Mill Creek bike trail will allow it to run through downtown Youngstown and through YSU campus.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources awarded the city of Youngstown a $500,000 grant to go toward the construction of approximately 5,000 feet of new trail according to the 2017 Clean Ohio Trails Fund Awards.
Julius Oliver, the first ward city councilman, said he believes this expansion will be good for the city.
“This project will connect residents and students to key destinations located in the Center City to major city and county corridors. This trail will provide equitable transportation to groups and individuals of all ages and capacity by connecting them to recreational assets, healthcare and employment opportunities – improving overall quality of life,” Oliver said.
Oliver said this expansion has been in the works for some time. He said the Center City to Metro Parks Connector Trail project builds on over 10 years of planning. This project will open doors for other bicycle routes as well.
“This will connect the Center City Youngstown and vital recreational assets to the region’s expanding bicycle network and other routes, such as the State Bicycle Route 70 and the 110-mile Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway,” Oliver said.
Ron Cole, public information officer at YSU, said the expansion is important to the long-term strength of the university.
“Expanding the bike trail to campus provides a direct, easy connection to Mill Creek Park and all it has to offer to our students and employees. Making those kinds of connections is vital to the long-term strength of the community and the university,” Cole said.
Construction on the expansion is hoped to start in 2018.