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Ohio & Erie Canalway awards $120,000 in federal grants for local projects

By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer

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The Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area is funding eight projects with $120,000 in federal funds.

The Strategic Initiatives Awards are expected to generate $2.5 million in private, local and state matches in the heritage area that stretches from Cleveland through Akron and Canton to New Philadelphia.

The new grants in Summit, Stark, Tuscarawas and Cuyahoga counties are focused on “the building and extension of the canalway core components and their connections, as well as investments associated with visitor nodes,” Dan Rice and Tim Donovan, co-executive directors of the canalway, said in a statement.

The winners are:

• Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, $20,000. The money will help design and engineer the second phase of the new Freedom Trail. The trail is nearly complete from Southwest Avenue in Tallmadge to Kent. Work is beginning on the next phase from Southwest Avenue to North Arlington Street in Akron.

• Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, $10,000. The money will be used to help fund needed heating/air-conditioning, lighting, electrical and insulation upgrades at the new Trail Mix store in Peninsula.

• City of Cuyahoga Falls, $5,000, to develop a trail and greenway plan for the Gorge Terrace neighborhood.

• City of Massillon, $2,000. The grant is for new signs to direct Towpath Trail users through Massillon, where the trail is incomplete because of a detour around a rail line.

• Ohio Historical Society, $30,000, to help repair damage to the Bimeler Museum in Zoar. A flood in 2005 badly damaged the site.

• Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, $15,000, for restroom renovations on eight train cars the tourist railroad owns.

• University Circle Inc., $23,000, to develop a program to attract visitors to University Circle on Cleveland’s east side.

• Land Studio Inc., $15,000, to complete the design and engineering of the Lake Link-Towpath Trail connector to connect Lake Erie and the Towpath Trail in the Flats area of Cleveland.

To date, the 110-mile canalway has gotten $8.3 million in federal funds. That money has been matched by $28 million in private, local and state funds.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.