In the next four years, bike paths are expected to stretch from southern Lorain County to Lake Erie.
“Lake Erie is the promised land,” said Metro Parks director Jim Ziemnik.
He has been working to connect each Metro Park throughout the county for cyclists.
Ziemnik and his crew started at Elyria’s Cascade Park as they started exploring how to connect the remaining parks — especially those in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington.
By early February, Ziemnik hopes to submit a bid to ODOT for a project linking Amherst’s Beaver Creek Park and Mercy Health and Recreation Center.
“It helps connect Amherst within Amherst and across Rt. 2,” Ziemnik said. “That helps move it north to the lake. In the next two to three years we’re looking to push to the north to Lake Erie.”
He said the bike path in Amherst is expected to travel along North Lake Street across Rt. 2 and then to an off-road path along Cooper Foster Park Road to the rec center.
The Metro Parks also own 11-acres north of Mercy in Lorain, where Ziemnik plans to build more connecting trails.
Ziemnik is still in talks with Wellington officials to join Findley State Park and the Wellington Reservation, then stretch north through Oberlin.
‘That’ll enable us to go through Griggs Road to the Wellington Reservation,” he said. Griggs Road is already connected with Lorain County’s Back Roads and Beaches path, which travels north on Pitts Road through Pittsfield Township and Oberlin to Vermilion.
“It’s a way for people in Findley to move to our Wellington Reservation,” Ziemnik said. “It’s so exciting. It’s a major connector.”
He has received a lot of positive feedback from residents about the paths that have been built and the ones in the process.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @ValUrbanik on Twitter.