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Cable To Archbold

New Developments On Cannonball Trail


Jay Budde, vice president of the Northwest Ohio Rails to Trails Association, revealed two new developments connected to the Wabash Cannonball Trail to members of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce, Monday, Dec. 17.

Budde said negotiations are underway to allow the trail to be used as a right-of-way for a fiber-optic cable, and to possible pave of a stretch of trail between Montpelier and West Unity.

Budde said the NORTA board is negotiating with the Bryan Municipal Utility to provide a right-of-way for the cable.

The cable, less than a halfinch in diameter, will run from the west edge of Montpelier along the trail to Co. Rd. 24, then south along Co. Rd. 24, eventually reaching the Westfield Medical Center-Archbold Hospital complex.

“All we’re doing is providing a corridor right-of-way, but in a cooperative venture” with a municipal utility.

“The Bryan Municipal Utility has a client, the Community Hospitals and Wellness Centers. They’re going to bury this cable… that will probably happen this spring.”

Budde said the NORTA board “is negotiating a settlement that includes a one-time payment, based on a per-foot (basis).

“I’m not at liberty to disclose (the amount) at this time, because we’re still negotiating with the Bryan Municipal Utility.”

In addition to a cash payment, Budde said the two sides are discussing joint-development agreements, such as the utility doing some work on the trail or donating materials.

Pavement

NORTA is also working with foundations from Montpelier and West Unity to pave a section of the trail between the two communities.

Budde said paving the trail costs about $200,000 per mile, because it must be paved to Ohio Department of Transportation standards. He put the total cost of paving the approximately six-mile stretch at $1.2 million.

The two foundations are help- ing NORTA by cosponsoring grant requests to the State of Ohio.

“There are several transportation enhancement programs that we’re seeking funding for. We think it’s going to happen.

“It’s going to take a while to get funds; probably two years,” he said.

Budde described NORTA as “neighbors, friends, community groups, working together to maintain this trail.

“It is an abandoned railroad right-of-way for use as a recreational trail. You can walk it, you can ride your horse on it, you can fly a kite on it. You can use your snowmobile on it, like I saw running down the trail last night. We really prohibit motorized use.

“If you’re a hunter, you shouldn’t be hunting from the trail, because even in winter, I get out and ski a section, and I don’t necessarily wear winter hunting gear.”

Budde said the trail starts at St. Rt. 15 in Montpelier, extends through Elmira, crosses St. Rt. 2, passes through Wauseon, eventually passes through the Maumee State Forest, and ends in Maumee.

A separate, southern leg extends from Maumee southwest to Liberty Center. Budde said that section of the trail is now paved, with funding for that project provided by the Toledo Metroparks system. Between the two legs, the Wabash Cannonball Trail extends a total of 70 miles.

Budde said NORTA’s annual budget is about $20,000 per year, but in a later interview, he said that figure was “real ballpark.”

“Our income is about $1,000 from memberships. Anything else we get is like special grant requests, or people will say, ‘We’ll donate the lumber.’ We work with people for donations.”

NORTA does have a number of agreements with “various entities, and some businesses.

“If they use it (trail property) for commercial purposes, we do have some easements for rental.”

NORTA also leases space on the south leg of the trail to Toledo Edison, for a high-tension electric line.

Problems

Budde outlined some problems NORTA faces.

There have been incidents where individuals have dumped waste materials on the trail. On one recent occasion, the offender was located and required to remove the material he dumped.

Motorized vehicles are a problem, because they can damage the trail. Budde said a bridge deck was scarred by snowmobiles crossing the bridge, and the deck will eventually need replacing.- David Pugh


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