Monday, March 1, 2004

Trail's happy median sought

Suburb wary of nosy, noisy users

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

TERRACE PARK - State park planners want to build a new bike/hike path along the Little Miami Bike Trail through this suburb known for its quiet streets and grand trees.

Terrace Park village Councilman Jeff Koreman chairs council's bike trail committee. He is shown with his wife, Tammy, and sons, from left, Asher, 9, and Gabriel and Elijah, six-year-old twins, at the Town Green Park bandstand.
(Meggan Booker photo)
The plan is part of a decades-old effort to connect the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Milford to downtown Cincinnati via Terrace Park. Eventually, planners hope the path will link downtown Cincinnati to downtown Cleveland.

But Terrace Park neighbors aren't too thrilled at their role in the plan, especially for 40 to 50 homeowners whose property abuts the path.

They fear their 2.5-mile portion of the trail, which would bisect their community, will destroy their private oasis.

Terrace Park is mostly residential with 2,273 residents.

Crime is so low there hasn't been a burglary in three years, said Police Chief Bob Bacon.

There are worries over decreased property values and bicyclists peering into homes and wandering through yards.

"You pay a million dollars to live there and get a quarter acre lot for a reason," Mayor Jay Gohman said.

Construction could begin in fall 2005 and last about a year. Cost estimates range from $700,000 to $2 million, said Scott Zody at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in Columbus.

The path would cut through the middle of Terrace Park after Milford and then proceed through eastern Hamilton County, connect with an existing bike path at Lunken Playfield and then continue into downtown.

It will follow an old railroad path that bisects the village from northeast to southwest. The state bought the railroad path in the 1970s for a multi-use recreational trail, Zody said.

The Terrace Park link is the final piece, he said. "If we don't finish our piece, it basically becomes the missing link," he said.

A public meeting in August drew 300 residents - about 60 percent opposed to the plan. Since then, city council has formed a bike trail committee, and 100 residents have submitted suggestions to Zody to retool the plan.

Terrace Park at a glance

Terrace Park in eastern Hamilton County was incorporated as a village in 1893. It is in the Mariemont School District.

Population: 2,273 residents
White: 98.2 percent
Hispanic: 0.8 percent
Number of homes: 850
Median home value: $298,600
Median household income: $95,530
Median age: 38.7
Education: 71 percent of residents have bachelor's degree or higher.
Source: U.S. Census


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