NEW BREMEN — Area residents in wheelchairs, bicyclists or those who need scooters to get around will soon be able to get out and explore a resource in the area.
As part of a Transportation Enhancement grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation received through a partnership with the village of New Bremen and the New Bremen Foundation, a portion of the Miami and Erie Canal Towpath Trail will be paved.
“The village met with our engineers, Poggemeyer and Associates of Bowling Green, and Ohio Department of Transportation representatives from Sidney regarding the project before Christmas,” New Bremen Village Administrator Wayne York said. “The plan is to install a paved trail from downtown New Bremen north to Lock Two Road.”
The village received notification it received the grant in fall 2011, but York noted construction isn’t expected to start on the trail until 2013.
“The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has done basic work on the canal trail between New Bremen and St. Marys,” York said.
“There’s a grassy path in place the entire distance with minimal obstructions. The thing is, it’s uneven. There are chuck holes and groundhog holes, so you have to stay alert along the way.”
The new surface — which also proposes a pedestrian bridge that would cross the canal in the vicinity of the New Bremen public pool — should improve the path’s walkway and enable more residents to utilize it.
“It will improve and level it to provide a paved surface,” he said. “It will suit bikes and handicapped scooters and wheelchairs.”
The southern point of the trail, York noted, suits walkers and runners.
“The trail from New Bremen south to Minster is a gravel trail, which is favored by runners and walkers because it’s a cushioned surface,” he said.
“The cross country teams use it for training and individual use.”
With the new surface, the trail would be open for everyone, York said.
“This would provide something for everybody,” he said. “It favors walkers and runners to the south of New Bremen and bicyclists and handicapped users to the north.”
York said the 2013 construction date depends on multiple studies that have to be done.
“There are environmental and historical reviews that have to be done to make sure no architectural features are lost,” he said.
Currently, the village owns 100 percent of the canal lands north to the village limits, York said, while ODNR owns the canal lands north of the village limits along the rest of the canal, with a lease to the New Bremen Foundation.
“This would tie in nicely with the rest of the trail,” York said.