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$1 million nature trail fund

By Maddie Wood, For The Miami Student

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently approved plans to build a multi-use trail in Oxford. The trail will be built around the City of Oxford, stretching from the Black Covered Bridge across from Yager Stadium to the DeWitt Log House. Oxford Area Trails, a small citizen activist group, has been working for over a decade to bring a new trail to the City of Oxford. The plans for this specific trail were written into the city comprehensive plan in the early 2000s.

On Oct. 21, Oxford received a $500,000 Clean Ohio grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was granted to help implement phase one of the construction. "The Clean Ohio Trails Fund works to improve outdoor recreational opportunities for Ohioans by funding trails for outdoor pursuits of all kinds," said their website. In 2014 alone, the Clean Ohio Trails Fund gave out $6,136,997 in grants for use across the state.

Phase one of the Oxford trail will span 0.62 miles of land from the Black Covered Bridge, underneath state route 732 to Leonard Howell Park and connect to DeWitt Log House.

According to Oxford Area Trail's website, "This path will connect key points of interest around our city and provide a path for bicycle riding, jogging, rollerblading and walking that is safe for the entire family."

Although the grant provides money for the trail to be built, Oxford Area Trails has been required to raise an additional $170,000 from the community in order to put the plans into motion.

Jessica Green, Executive Director of the Oxford Visitor's Bureau and member of Oxford Area Trails, believes they will reach this goal soon. As of Jan. 15, $100,000 had been raised. She hopes to begin construction late spring.

Green first realized Oxford needed a trail for recreation after a trip to a Cincinnati area trail with her family.

"We had such a great day walking and playing in Cincinnati. The trail had a one mile loop and an eight mile loop and I thought to myself, Oxford should do this," she said.

While Oxford has some outdoor attractions, such as Hueston Woods State Park, Lenard Howell Park and Peffer Park, this new multi-use trail will hopefully bring more visitors to Oxford.

"We already have a lot of bikers in the area, this will only increase that," Green said. "The trail will be great for visitors, and it seems like the natural next step to build this amenity for them and residents of Oxford."

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