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Path work ongoing

July 29, 2011

Staff photo/Mike Burkholder: Crews work on prepping the foundation of a shelterhouse that will be built along the Miami and Erie Canal in downtown St. Marys.

ST. MARYS — Construction crews have been busy along the Miami and Erie Canal in downtown St. Marys.

Work will soon wrap up on repairs to the walking path along Lock 13. The path, which was destroyed during the Feb. 28 flood, sports a new, reinforced foundation.

“These will all be paver bricks like they were before,” St. Marys Safety-Service Director Tom Hitchcock told The Evening Leader. “The first time we did it, it was a stone and sand base, which obviously we found out didn’t work really well with the flood. So we put a concrete base under this section and the paver bricks should start next week and be done by SummerFest.”

During the winter flood, water penetrated the landscaping and made its way under the paver bricks. That caused the bricks to be washed out.

“The water flowing over the pavers wouldn’t have hurt it,” Hitchcock said. “It was the action of the water flowing down out of the canal and into the landscape beds that popped a few bricks up and that’s what washed them away. So now with the concrete base, we will avoid that in the future.”

Other additions along the corridor include a new parking lot and landscaping along the canal off High Street. The parcel will be complete in October once a shelterhouse is finished.

“When we redo the (High Street) bridge, we are going to redo the sidewalk in here,” Hitchcock said. “It may be pavers so we can make the whole thing pavers.”

One unique addition to the path along the canal is a paver brick maze.

“This is something a little different,” Hitchcock said of the circle maze. “The goal of the maze is to get to the center and the black lines outline your paths. We were planning on having a circle here anyway as a way to bring all the sidewalks together, so we thought that would be a neat idea for the kids. It really wasn’t that much more so we just incorporated this maze into the design of it.”

Lights and landscaping still need to be completed along the path. Hitchcock said crews recently started pouring the foundation of the shelterhouse.

“It will be kind of a scaled-down version of the shelterhouses that are out at East Bank Road on the lake,” Hitchcock said. “We really like the design. It will have restrooms and there will be several picnic tables.”

Four of the picnic tables were built for the city as part of an Eagle Scout project by Joseph Jacks. Hitchcock said the facility will be available for reservations.

“There’s not really restrooms on this lower level and it’s just an ideal place to have restrooms and for a chance for people to stop and rest,” Hitchcock said. “It gives us a nice trailhead. They can go either direction — they can either go back through town along the lock or they can go further down the trail path.”

The cost of the shelterhouse is $238,700.

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