Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Residents praise new park's trail


Visitors flock to Freedom's Voice Reserve even before it's finished

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

[photo]
Jesse Slauter of Colerain Township (left) and Bill Ison of Middletown cross the bridge Tuesday afternoon on the 1.4-mile walking path at Freedom's Voice Reserve in West Chester Township. MetroParks officials expect the park to be the most popular of 22 in the system.
Photos by GLENN HARTONG/The Enquirer
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Several times a week, Donna Elmore gets up before 8 a.m. to walk the 1.4-mile paved trail around the 30-acre lake at Freedom's Voice Reserve.

"I like the lake a lot. I like to look at that more than cars" and development, she said.

Elmore isn't the only resident excited about the 200-acre park, still being developed by MetroParks of Butler County.

The hike/bike trail, at Hamilton-Mason and Cox roads, has been a drawing card since it opened earlier this year.

"We're very pleased with what we're seeing," said Mike Muska, director of MetroParks of Butler County.

Official traffic counts have not been taken.

Freedom's Voice Reserve, which adjoins West Chester Township's Voice of America Park, is expected to be the most heavily visited of the MetroParks' 22 properties.

Residents haven't been bothered by the construction work.

"We were just getting so many requests" to open, Muska said. "Originally, we thought we'd keep the gates closed until we got everything developed, but that was just impossible."

Freedom's Voice Reserve won't be officially dedicated until fall.

MetroParks is working with Cincinnati-based Roger Short Associates to develop a building complex on the west end of the lake, Muska said.

The complex will consist of a merchandise/bait and tackle shop, a concession area, a meeting room and boat rentals. Work is also being done to install a gate at the park's official entrance off VOA Park Drive, accessed from Cox Road.

"With the lack of sidewalks around here, it's nice to be able to walk on something that's safe," said Karen Varney, a West Chester resident who visited the park this week with Elmore.

Pam Mass, who can almost see her house from Freedom's Voice Reserve, gave up her weekly walks through her West Chester neighborhood in favor of the park.

"Sometimes I come two times (daily), it's just so nice," she said.




SUMMER LEVY VOTES
8 school levies fail
County election sites
'No!' Norwood majority roars about 14-mill levy
Monroe increase fails
Mt. Healthy OKs levy

TOP STORIES
Festival seating likely to return
Mayor Luken may be angling for run at statewide office
Freedom Center taps emotions
Last exhibit intended to get people talking
Young workers lack coverage

IN THE TRISTATE
Spending up at Cincinnati schools
Ex-felons' voting rights misstated
Lakota puts levy on ballot this fall
Local news briefs
Mercury lurks: Think twice about eating fish caught in Ohio streams
Lead-laden parcel won't delay planned Warren County subdivision
Neighbors briefs
Wording leaves details to courts
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium euthanizes 39-year-old gorilla with inoperable cancer
Panel to debate opening park gate
Public safety briefs
Lawsuit: Bad grades killed jobs
Too fast, two crashes, two die
Residents praise new park's trail

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Grad awarded $1K scholarship

LIVES REMEMBERED
Rev. James A. Sutton, 82, was foster parent to 148
Janet M. Trigg taught nursing care for cancer

KENTUCKY STORIES
Bush bypasses Bunning on post
Woman, 72, claims sex abuse in 1930s
Silver Grove first up
Florence advised: Un-Mall
18 N.Ky. schools fall short
NRA gives endorsement to Geoff Davis
Bunning addresses business group
Louisville GOP leader faces criticism on poll watchers
Human Rights Commission has acting director
Bunning pressed on stem cells