MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon City Council approved a resolution Monday night that will move the city closer to being a vital connector in the Ohio to Erie trail system.
The resolution allows the Ohio Department of Transportation to rehabilitate the railroad trestle just east of the viaduct and a smaller bridge over Dry Creek as part of a bike trail system that will eventually connect the Heart of Ohio Trail with the Kokosing Gap Trail.
The trail will start at the viaduct and run over Dry Creek through the north section of Memorial Park to connect with the Kokosing Gap Trail. The railroad trestle will provide for safe access to the north side of the Kokosing River and downtown Mount Vernon.
The trail would eventually be linked to the Heart of Ohio Trail at Foundation Park and be part of the 450-mile Ohio to Erie Trail.
The final approval of the project has met some contention as Mike Hillier, councilman at large, questioned whether or not this was good use of the city’s money. The project will be funded largely by a Transportation Enhancement Grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. The city’s portion would be just over $250,000, which includes $85,000 in engineering fees. The Knox County Park District has already pledged around $36,000 as local matching funds for the grant.
Hillier voted against the measure, but later said that he hopes since the legislation was adopted, the city will work toward getting truck traffic through the city safely.
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