HPD to seek grant for canoe launches

By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER
The Hancock Park District board approved a resolution Tuesday to seek a grant for construction of two concrete canoe and kayak launch/landing areas at Liberty Landing and Blanchard Landing, west of Findlay along the Blanchard River.
To help the grant application, the board approved a motion for director Gary Pruitt to submit an application for a “state water trail” designation for the area from Eastpoint on East Main Cross Street to Blanchard Landing, near Ohio 235.
The park district wants to promote an increase in canoe and kayak traffic downstream, west toward Ottawa, Pruitt said.
“To do so depends on signs, safe and well-constructed portages so that paddlers can safely bypass the obstacle-ridden section of the urban waterway,” he said in a prepared statement. There are dams and ripples along the route.
“Quality launch and landing areas to support multiple entrance and exit points along the river” would “maximize recreation opportunities,” he said.
The park district is seeking a grant and the state designation through the state Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft. The applications will be submitted together and are due April 1.
The trip between Liberty Landing and Blanchard Landing is a half-day trip. The park district is also in discussions with Putnam County officials to develop and/or promote a canoe and kayak launch and landing area in Ottawa. The additional distance would make it a full-day trip.
The park district could provide guided tours along the route and a shuttle service to return to Findlay, Pruitt said.
If successful, grants may be sought to do a similar project and extend the “state water trail” designation to other areas along the river, he said.
Separately, the board approved the annual list of “in-kind” and cash donations to the park district. More than $11,600 was received, with $6,800 “in-kind” from Blanchard River Broadcasting for public service announcements being the largest.
Separately, copies of the multi-use trails master plan, prepared by RCM Architects, were distributed.
It is a “very, very long-term plan,” Pruitt said, which will be distributed to city, regional planning and engineer offices soon so they are familiar with the idea and can promote it when there are construction projects which may include paved trails.
Maurer: 419-427-8420 Send an E-mail to Jim Maurer

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