Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
By: Jeanne Houck
Community leaders recently celebrated the opening of a new half-mile stretch of the Columbia Connector multi-use trail, which links Columbia Township to the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
“It’s amazing to see it finally open and it couldn’t have come at a better time when everybody is looking for outdoor activities,” David Kubicki, president of the Columbia Township Board of Trustees, said in an email to The Enquirer.
“Columbia Township worked closely with (Great Parks of Hamilton County) and made a significant financial commitment to the Connector. This will improve the quality of life for our residents and also help the businesses nearby. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
The newly opened stretch of the Columbia Connector runs west from the Little Miami Scenic Trail at the northern end of the Newtown Road bridge.
It continues behind the 50 West Brewing Co., May We Help and Carriage House Car Wash, all on Wooster Pike, to Walton Creek Road.
Great Parks of Hamilton County said in a press release that it is planning the next phase of the Connector, which is to cross Walton Creek Road and eventually turn north toward an intersection with Wooster Pike.
After that, the release said, Great Parks will coordinate with the Ohio Department of Transportation to extend the Connector further west to the Mariemont branch of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library.
The eastern end of the Columbia Connector reaches the Little Miami Scenic Trail near trail access points at Avoca Park and trailhead on Wooster Pike and at the Bass Island Park and trailhead and the Little Miami Golf Center, both on Newtown Road.
Columbia Connector part of CROWN network
The Connector is also part of CROWN (Cincinnati Riding or Walking Network) a planned 34-mile urban trail loop around Cincinnati.
When it is complete, CROWN will connect the Columbia Connector to the Murray Path and Wasson Way, as well as the Ohio River Trail from Lunken Airport to Downtown Cincinnati.
“Great Parks is committed to leading in the development of our regional trails as we see…with the opening of the first phase of the Columbia Connector,” Great Parks CEO Todd Palmeter said in the Great Parks press release.
“This extension will further expand the CROWN network, which connects the Little Miami Scenic Trail and communities such as the village of Mariemont. The trail also allows easier access to all that Fifty West Brewing has to offer along Wooster Pike.
“It is dedicated partnerships with Tri-State Trails, Columbia Township, Ohio Department of Transportation, among others, that make great community projects such as this possible,” Palmeter said.
Marcus Thompson, president of Great Parks’ Board of Commissioners, said in the release that providing trails for the public is important.
“Since 2019, trail usage has increased 68 percent,” Thompson said.
“That’s almost half a million extra visitors since 2019. That shows the importance of trails like this and trails throughout the rest of Great Parks.”