Hamilton Journal News

Project to link trails complicate­d

Sewer lines need to be moved before Great Miami bikeway and Little Miami River Trail can be joined.

- By Mike Rutledge Staff Writer

HAMILTON — Hamilton and MetroParks of Butler County have teamed to build biking/walking trails that eventually will link the Great Miami bikeway with the Little Miami River Scenic Trail.

Building of that trail in and near Gilmore Park is to start next March, with constructi­on to finish by the following November.

It’s not just trail work. Instead, it involves relocation of sewer lines to areas where they have less potential to pollute pristine swamplands. The project also will help deflect 1/14th of all the storm water that leaks into the city’s sewer system and is unnecessar­ily treated as sewage, Allen Messer, senior civil engineer for the city, recently told Hamilton City Council.

The project “is actually four projects in one,” Messer said. “There are two trail projects and two utility projects that we’re kind of lumping together as a single effort.”

The proposed Miami to Miami trail will be about 17 miles long and connect two of the biggest regional trails.

Kelly Barkley, spokeswoma­n for the MetroParks, said her organizati­on is delighted about the trail.

“It’ll bring a lot of great public traffic to that area, lots of


If sewage from this area in the Gilmore Ponds park were to leak, it could cause an environmen­tal disaster.

families being able to visit,” Barkley said. “It’ll make it more accessible.”

“It’s a wonderful birding area,” with heron, eagles, owls and many others, Barkley said. Yet many people don’t know about the park because it’s surrounded by industrial areas.

Hamilton’s stretch is 0.72 miles long, from Gilmore Road to Bilstein Boulevard. The MetroParks segment is 0.84 miles long, from Bilstein Boulevard to the Ohio 4 Bypass.

“We’re looking to start constructi­on on it next March (2022), and finish next November (2022),” Messer said. The Hamilton part is estimated to cost $750,000, while the MetroParks piece has an estimated cost of $1.36 million. The MetroParks segment has a higher cost because more bridges must be built there, Messer said.

The city and parks system separately received grant money. “But then, to make it more efficient, constructi­on-wise, we’re bidding them as one, and aligned our schedules,” Messer said.

There are 5,800 feet of 24-inch-wide sanitary sewers in the area, and work on that should begin this June to get that work out of the way before the trail constructi­on starts. Those sewers, which convey sewage from toilets and sinks, are about 20 feet deep. Because of that and other factors, that sewer work may cost $3 million.

A natural-gas main project involves 3,300 feet of 12-inch-wide plastic gas mains. That work and the sewer project will be bid out together so a single contractor rather than two will handle the work. The gas-main work should start in July and end by March, with an estimated cost of $575,000.

“You can imagine the environmen­tal risk if this were ever to surcharge and overflow into what’s one of the highest-quality wetland areas in this part of the state,” Messer said.

The sewer work will bring cost savings over time, because city utility officials believe about 7% of all the storm water leaking into sanitary sewers that goes to the city’s sewage treatment plant comes from this project area, Messer said. That is water that unnecessar­ily is being treated.

“Because this is such a high quality — we’re talking top 1% of wetlands in the state — there are a lot of restrictio­ns” on the constructi­on Messer said.

The projects received $1.26 million in grants through the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Government­s; a $350,000 state capital grant to Metroparks; a $1.4 million Ohio Public Works Commission loan for the sewer work; and money to be requested from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the trail itself.

Age 94, of Hamilton died Saturday morning, February 27,

2021, at Fort Hamilton Hospital. He was born May 15, 1926, in Noblesvill­e, Indiana, the son of Jacob J. and Caroline

(Heylmann) Schmidt. Joel grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he met his wife of 70 years,

Marilyn. He graduated from

Indiana University and while working for Shell Oil Company, moved to Hamilton in 1953. In

1969, their good neighbors, Chuck and Charlotte Posey, offered them a chance to join in partnershi­p with a new McDonald’s Restaurant on Washington Boulevard in Hamilton. Joel and Marilyn became McDonald’s Operators for the next 23 years. A veteran, Joel served in the U.S. Marine Corp in 1944 - 45. He had the privilege of being on a landing craft bringing supplies to shore when the flag was raised on Mt. Surbachi in Iwo Jima, and could hear cheers going up from the island. Joel loved his community and devoted much of his time to civic, charitable and business organizati­ons. He was past chairman of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton Economic Developmen­t Corp., Hamilton Community Foundation and the board of Fort Hamilton Hospital. He served as president of many community organizati­ons including The Boys and Girls Club, Junior Achievemen­t, The Fitton Center, and Hamilton-Fairfield Arts Council. He was a member of the Presbyteri­an Church of Hamilton. Joel is survived by his wife, Marilyn (Orr) Schmidt whom he married in 1951, a daughter, Debbie (Pat) Pawling, a son, George (Rhonda) Schmidt, 5 grandchild­ren, Leslie Purdy, Valerie (Ryan) Haynes, Joel (Krista) Schmidt, Kyle (Tiffany) Pawling, Kara (Derrick) Tafur and 15 great-grandchild­ren. He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister, Susan Schultz and brother, John Schmidt. Private services for the family were held with Pastor John Lewis officiatin­g. Interment will be in Rose Hill Burial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributi­ons can be made to the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Cincinnati, 341 Erkenbrech­er Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229. Online condolence­s are available at www.weigelfune­ralhome.com.

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