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Trail Linking Tannery to Fred Fuller Parks Nearly Finished

$875,000 project included $700,000 AMATS grant

The new trail linking John Brown Tannery Park to Fred Fuller Park isn't officially open because construction is ongoing.

Yet Kent residents are using the trail — which is about 95 percent finished — anyway.

Kent Parks and Recreation Director John Idone said the new path, part of the countywide Portage Bike and Hike Trail, is meant to bring people who otherwise would not have access, such as seniors, people in wheelchairs and families with strollers, to the scenic banks of the Cuyahoga River.

"Families are the big thing," he said. "It's essentially open now. We're trying to keep people off of it, but once the concrete went down it's really hard to keep people off of it."

Idone said he understands runners and others who preferred the simple foot path along the river, but the new concrete path increases access tenfold — particularly for those who might not have been able to use the foot path.

The official ribbon-cutting for the trail most likely won't happen until spring 2013.

The path, constructed by Cavanaugh Building, cost $875,000. A $700,000 grant from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study paid for the bulk of it with the city paying just $175,000.

"Really the only thing to finish up is the railing along the river and some clean-up and it's essentially done," Idone said. "The next phase is in 2017, where we have funding to continue the Esplanade from where it meets (Haymaker Parkway) ... across S.R. 43 and down to Franklin Avenue."

That section will pass alongside Haymaker Parkway on the south side of the road, past the police and fire departments, across South Water Street and down to Franklin Avenue between Walgreens and the Haymaker Parkway Overpass.

"Ultimately we'd like to connect it to this link here," Idone said. "The other section goal is to connect the Freedom Secondary Trail, which comes in at S.R. 261 and Middlebury Road. There's a number of options there that really aren't fully developed yet."

John Bard November 22, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Families using the bamks of the Cuyahoga is great but don't try crossing the Cuyahoga at the park because for two or more years the bridge has been closed. Parks and recreation seems to keep finding funding for more and more trails but my tax dollars don't seem to be used in maintaining what they already have. The youth of Kent haven't played ball on Kramer fields for more than two years and I don't hear of any plan for getting the bridge fixed but see new trails and read of the next projects planning, see houses being torn down for future projects but no plan for Kramer field. Maybe instead of more and more of the same, the change we need is the board of directors and the director of Kent Parks and Recreation.
Chris (Kit) Myers November 22, 2012 at 01:19 PM
I guess I am just a confused old man, but I think that $875.000 would be better spent teaching kids to read than building another hiking trail. But what do I know... Just $175,000 city money? Didn't Ruller just tell us that we need to watch our pennies? As I said, I guess I am just a confused old man...
Matt Fredmonsky November 22, 2012 at 02:17 PM
John, there is a plan to replace the bridge to Kramer Fields. That project will go out to bid early next year with construction targeted for summer. The new bridge should be open by this time next year, though the ball fields won't be until 2014.
Wilburforce November 22, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Yep gotta get the ball fields open and the kids out of the house and cookie jar.

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