Bike Trail Part 1

Recently, I ran into Paul Leiber at the Main Station Cafe. He inquired about the progress of the
bike trail. As we talked, the conversation exuded excitement and anticipation of the trail coming to
fruition by the end of this year. It seems like the trail has taken a long time to get here, but it’s not
because of delays, it’s the standard procedure in working with bureaucracy and grants.

In the fall of 2012, I met with Marc Weisenberger, Bellevue’s Recreation and Parks Director, to look at the trail’s
status. Marc had been trying to get property owners behind Route 20 to allow access to the city for the
continuation of the bike trail, but to no avail. As we discussed the issue, the question was raised, why
not bring the trail down Route 20. After consulting with the rest of the city administration, we decided
to take that strategy. Since Bellevue was the last piece to complete the trail from Elmore to Elyria, the
consensus was the city had an excellent chance of obtaining grants from both the federal and state
level. The decision was to apply for the grants and wait for the verdict. Applying for the grant is not as
simple as it sounds. You have to provide a significant amount of information. I can’t say enough for the
work that was put into the grant proposals by Marc, Kevin Scagnetti, Steve Grunier, Sandusky County
Recreation and Parks and GGJ Consulting Engineers. Approximately nine months later, the news came
that the grants were approved. ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) awarded $994,224. ODNR
(Ohio Department of Natural Resources) awarded $176,370. The grant money would become available
in the later part of 2015. In the meantime, measuring the layout and meeting the requirements was the
next step in the process. The total cost for the trail is approximately $1.36 million. The grants received
totaled $1,170,594. In other words, the city will be getting the bike trail for about 14 cents on the
dollar. I believe that is good value for our tax dollars. Stay tuned for my next article on what impact the
bike trail will have on our community. Before I close, I would like to point out that February is Black
History month. I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize an African American who has been very influential
in my life, Thomas Sowell. Sowell is an economist, social theorist and author of over 30 books. He grew
up in Harlem, New York. Dropped out of high school and joined the Marines. He served in the Korean
War. He received his BA, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard. He earned his masters at Columbia
University and his Doctorate in Economics from the University of Chicago. He worked with renowned
economist Milton Friedman for several years. He was a frequent guest on William Buckley’s Firing Line
that ran for years on PBS.

Quoting The Economist magazine, “Mr. Sowell marshals his arguments with admirable clarity
and authority. There is not a chapter in which he does not produce a statistic that both surprises and
overturns received wisdom.” Now at age 84, Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a
syndicated columnist. Recently he wrote a brilliant article on the Ferguson, Missouri situation that I
would encourage you to go on line and read. If your preference is viewing, you can go on You Tube and
see Dr. Sowell in action on several topics. Sowell has taught me that when a statement of assumed fact
is made, to ask three questions. Compared to what? At what cost? What hard evidence do you have?
This approach has been very helpful to me over the years, both in the business world, in government
and in life. Thank you, Dr. Thomas Sowell.

 

 

Bike Trail Timeline