RICHLAND TOWNSHIP — Plans for the Clinton-Fayette Friendship Trail bike path have been amended to include cautionary signs near quarry operations.
In a special meeting Thursday, the Clinton County Park District board approved paying $3,960 for the signage and some fencing.
Doug Gruver, an engineer with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) District 8 in Lebanon, said Friday the signs were added based on safety concerns from Melvin Stone Company which operates a quarry between Wilmington and Sabina.
As previously reported, the company’s concerns were discussed in a Clinton County commissioners’ meeting in late May 2015.
Melvin Stone Company President Dennis J. Garrison said Friday morning, “I think it’s a positive step,” adding it was the first he had heard about the decision to include signs.
Following the Thursday meeting, Clinton County Park District member Bob Thobaben said the park district has “got to be good neighbors.” He said there was a construction delay of 12 ½ weeks involved in addressing the issues.
Bob Johnson, president of the Clinton County Park District, said after the meeting the change was “an 11th-hour deal.”
On Friday, Thobaben said he believes the fencing paid for Thursday is not extensive, and will go around the entrance to a bike path parking lot on Melvin Road.
Garrison has stated the trail as proposed will have approximately 6,000 feet of common boundary with quarry property. He said children and adults may wander into areas that pose a serious threat to their lives.
“From 2003 to 2014, accidental deaths in quarries from falls, drowning, et cetera totaled 240, giving an average of 24 per year,” according to information provided by Melvin Stone Company in early June to ODOT.
In a statement dated June 9 for a meeting with ODOT, Garrison wrote, “It is the times when we are closed that is of the most concern. Most of our trespass issues occur on the weekend. We would assume that is also when the trail will be at its busiest and we are closed.”
In summer 2012, the Clinton County Park District was awarded a $1.2 million Transportation Alternatives Program grant by ODOT for construction of phase 1 of the Clinton-Fayette Friendship Trail, a six-mile section of path extending from Melvin Road east of Wilmington to Borum Road near the Fayette County line.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.