Grant will help expand Bluffton pathway

The Bluffton Lions Foundation Inc. has received a one-year matching grant of $61,600 from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation to expand the Bluffton bike and pedestrian pathway system in the Hancock County portion of Bluffton.

The project will extend the Bluffton pathway system from its current eastern terminus along an abandoned railroad spur to Bluffton’s Commerce Lane business district located in Hancock County and near the Interstate 75 interchange, according to Dick Ramseyer, president of the Bluffton Lions Foundation and chair of the Bluffton pathway board.

The Bluffton pathways master plan identifies two top priority projects: a west-side connection along Augsburger Road to growing residential areas and retirement communities, and an east-side connection that would link Bluffton’s Main Street, the village park and the Commerce Lane business district.

The Village of Bluffton’s Pathway board has secured a $260,000 commitment from the Ohio Department of Transportation for the west-side connection along Augsburger Road which covers 80 percent of the projected construction cost plus a 20 percent local match commitment from the Bluffton Lions Foundation.  Construction is scheduled by ODOT  to begin as early as July 2016.

The Community Foundation is providing grant funding to partially support the completion of the east-side connection, a .6-mile, 8-foot wide asphalt pathway along the abandoned Norfolk and Southern railroad spur that will link the village to the high traffic business district near the I-75 interchange.

The bike and pedestrian pathway is expected to be completed in October.

The $61,600 grant was approved at the Community Foundation’s board of trustees’ Feb. 20 meeting.

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