3/6/2018 3:55:00 PM Grants will fund rail trail bridges work
Moonville Rail Association President Brian Blair (left) speaks to Vinton County Commissioners, including Jim Satory (right), about the funding package for the Moonville Rail Trail bridges. (Telegram Photo By Red Thompson, Jr.)
Progress is being made on the completion of the non-motorized Moonville Rail Trail in Vinton County.
Its path is being more widely viewed as an expanding Vinton County tourist attraction along with being a vehicle for commercial growth in Zaleski. During the Vinton County Commissioners' meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, the Moonville Rail Association and the Vinton County Commissioners were working on grant-funding packages to complete bridges. The three planned bridges will eventually link the historical Moonville Tunnel and the village of Zaleski.
Association President Brian Blair told the commissioners the process of obtaining grant funding from both the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has started. The ODNR grant is for environmental impact studies while the ODOT grant is for the construction process. The funding, in this case, is being applied for by the county and will be reimbursable.
Blair stated, "The Moonviille Rail Trail is going to front $10,000 to sign a contract with ADR Engineering so the environmental study can be completed."
When grant funding is approved, the county will be reimbursing the association. Blair explained the association is hoping to get enough grant funding to complete all three bridges in a 12-month span, if possible.
If not enough grant funding is obtained, the association will complete as many bridges as possible with the available money. So far, the association has completed three of the six planned bridges. He says the just completed section is already a beautiful journey between the village of Zaleski and the historic Hope School site. Right now, the trail is complete from Zaleski to the Double Crossing area, which is one of the musical stage areas for the Moonville Party sponsored by the Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The trail is already a popular venue for tourists, Ohio University students, local and regional citizens, and groups. The completion of the trail is also considered to be important to the Village of Zaleski as it works to build a tourism- based economy. The village is looking at using the Moonville Rail Trail, along with the million annual visitors at Lake Hope State Park, as building blocks for its future development.
Blair stated he wants to do all he can to help the village grow. He also hopes the completion of the trail plays a part in helping the county as a heritage tourism destination. The commissioners credited Blair for his hard work and dedication in securing the grants and developing the Rail Trail.