WADSWORTH — The city is now home to a new bike and hike trail and park, the 2-mile Interurban Trail that opened Friday just in time for community members to view the area’s fall foliage.
“It certainly is going to be a wonderful asset to the city. We are excited to have it,” said Wadsworth Mayor Robin Laubaugh while addressing city officials and community members during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park.
The trail begins at the city’s southwest parking lot downtown and heads southeast following South Boulevard and Ohio Avenue to Miller Park. The trail continues along Chestnut Street to South Boulevard and Durling Drive, running parallel to a railroad line, and ending at a Silvercreek Road trailhead.
“It starts downtown, or ends downtown, depending on how you look at it,” said Robert Patrick, Wadsworth’s director of Public Service. “It’s a way to get folks to come from downtown into the neighborhoods, into the parks.”
Plans for the Interurban Trail have been in place for years, but construction didn’t kick off until two years ago when a 2015 grant of $372,185 was received from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trails Fund, which largely funded the project.
Additional contributions made by the Friends of the Wadsworth Trails included a pollinator garden at the Trolley House, which served as a stop for the areas trolley service during the first portion of the 20th century and today is used as the headquarters for the nonprofit group.
With an eye toward connectivity and bringing more people into the area, Patrick said future development plans are being considered to connect Wadsworth to other areas of Northern Ohio and the rest of the county.
“I know there are future plans for the Medina County (Park District) and then the Summit Metro Parks to continue the trail going all the way to Barberton, which will go to the (Ohio & Erie Canal) Towpath Trail,” he said. “So eventually, at some point, folks can go from Barberton all the way to the Towpath up to Cleveland and all the way down south.”
The park will draw people for events as well as recreation.
Master gardener for the Trolley House, Annette Yonally, added that the house receive a designation as a Monarch Waystation, as there were several monarch butterfly sightings at the park last summer.
Community members can rent the Trolley House for events. It also will be open on evenings and weekends so that visitors can stop in and use the restroom or have a cup of coffee, Patrick said.
“If it wasn’t for this house, we would have had to take the trail up on the road on Silvercrest. There’s a lot of elevation so it’s not the safest conditions,” he said. “We would really like to get people off the road as much as possible. This allowed the trail to go off the road and it also allowed us to build this park.”
Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.