The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
has awarded a $35,000 grant to Mill Creek Restoration Project
(MCRP) for planning and design costs associated with the first phase of the City of Cincinnati's Queen City-South Mill Creek Greenway Trail.
The 0.6-mile first phase of the hike/bike trail will follow the west bank of the waterway and connect Salway Park to the intersection of the Dooley Bypass and Ludlow Avenue, one block from the Northside business district.
The remainder of the $265,000 first phase will be funded by Cincinnati's Mill Creek Greenway Program, a grant from the Clean Ohio Trail Fund
, and private donors.
MCRP, with assistance from consultants Human Nature
and M-E Companies
, will incorporate green and eco-friendly construction methods including porous paving materials and furnishings from re-used and recycled materials, and the wildlife habitat will be restored with native Ohio trees.
Signage and art will highlight Mill Creek history.
"Mill Creek is inextricably linked to the rich cultural history of the region that we should honor and celebrate, from the Native American Shawnee to the thousands of slaves who traveled to the north to freedom along Mill Creek, a major route in the Underground Railroad," says Robin Corathers, executive director of MCRP.
This year, the MCRP be working with the University of Cincinnati's Applied Economics Research Institute
to quantify the economic ripple effects generated by all three phases of the $4.9 million, 3.4-mile investment.
A Mill Creek River Resource Economic Study, conducted last year by natural resource economists at Ohio State University
, projected huge regional benefits.
"The study concluded that implementation of the Mill Creek Greenway Plan could result in a regional property value increase of $104 million, an increase in property tax returns between $5.5 million and $8 million, and annual recreational benefits of between $3.5 million and $7 million," Corathers says.
Corathers believes that the project is a perfect candidate for federal stimulus funds.
"It's absolutely critical for the economic, social and environmental health and vitality of Greater Cincinnati," she says. "Mill Creek flows through the geographic heart of City. The river and its natural resources can become a tremendous asset to the region."
Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Robin Corathers, executive director, Mill Creek Restoration ProjectMap provided by Mill Creek Restoration Project
Photography by Scott Beseler