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Excerpted from Council Meeting 10/27/14... 
Rails to Trails Concept Advances
October 28, 2014

The city of Chillicothe will move forward exploring plans to convert the old abandoned shortline railroad that runs from Chillicothe to Sumner to a trail open to the public. City Administrator Ike Holland, during the regular city council meeting Monday evening at City Hall, asked council members for a consensus to move forward on the project. The council unanimously authorized the administrator to pursue the rails to trails project and look into developing a committee to oversee the project. Holland stated that he has traveled the trail and said that 99 percent of the trail is passable, and that a good portion of it has been maintained by farmers and/or hunters. Areas that would need significant repair, however, would be bridges. Around $10,000 has already been pledged by local community foundations for development of the trail and additional donations would likely be made if the trail project advances. Members of the Green Hills Trail Association were present at Monday night's meeting to voice support of the project and offer assistance. The trail could start off as a primitive trail and span just a portion of the route between Chillicothe and Sumner, and later be lengthened with added improvements, Holland said. Tom Ashbrook, who is a member of the city's railroad advisory board, the Green Hills Trail Association, and community foundations, told council members that a trail would be not only a destination, but would add to the quality of life for people, especially young people, who choose to live in Chillicothe. "We have an asset we need to utilize," he said. Terry Rumery, the city's contracted economic developer, stated the trail would help promote economic development. It was also noted that grant money would likely be available for the project.

$10,000 in Funds for Rails to Trails Project
By Brittany Tutt, CT
October 6, 2014

Chillicothe's Rails to Trails project, a plan to convert a portion of the former railroad tracks near Chillicothe into a walking and biking trail, received a $5,000 gift recently from the Jenkins Foundation to help the project along. This $5,000 contribution will be added to the $5,000 donation made by the Roger Browning Foundation several months ago.

According to City Administrator Ike Holland, the Rails to Trails program has been around for about 20 years. The program pulls up abandoned railroad tracks and turns that space into walking and biking trails and can also be a good way to connect cities. According to Holland, the city of Chillicothe purchased 30 miles of railroad tracks south of Chillicothe about 10 years ago. Instead of the tracks sitting there abandoned, the city decided to provide citizens with nice trails.

The project is still in the beginning stages and will take several years to complete. The budget has not yet been drawn up or approved, so where the donation will go has not yet been specifically determined. Holland said he and the Street Superintendent will soon go out to the trails and start estimating costs. There are bridges that need to be covered, entry and exit points that need to be created, parking areas and much bulldozing needed. Holland said they will likely ask their inmate crew to help with the cleanup of the area to save money.

Holland hopes to get started on the project before it gets too cold. However, he said more will be done in the spring and fall next year (2015). No motor vehicles will be allowed. The trails will be used for hiking, biking, and possibly horseback riding.

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