GREEN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – On Thursday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made a decision in Columbus that will affect people in the Mahoning Valley.
The decision deals with extending the Mill Creek MetroParks bike trail in Green Township. The governor signed a law preventing eminent domain from being used in obtaining the land.
Mill Creek Park wants to buy an area of land from Diane Less where her farm sits. They want to buy it to extend the bike trail but now, under the new state law, they can no longer do so through eminent domain for at least five years.
“It’s a victory… It’s not the end of the war,” Less said.
Four and a half miles from Less’ farm, on Western Reserve Road, is where the bike path ends.
The plan is to spend $6 million to extend it six miles, along an abandoned railroad line, linking it with the Greenway Trail in Columbiana County.
Less has been fighting it in court.
“This is really bad to serve a handful of people who will use the bike path,” she said.
Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young called the bill short-sighted, targeted and unconstitutional. He would not say if the park district would fight the law in court.
Less wants the bike trail moved to have it run along Washingtonville Road.
“It’s a beautiful country road. It’s very scenic and nice and very safe compared to riding through desolate areas that this new path would take,” she said.
Signs along West Newport Drive in Mill Creek Park warn that cars, bikes and walkers share the road. Wick Avenue near Youngstown State University also has warnings of biker use that are painted on the road.
Young says using Washingtonville Road would be 10 times the cost. He called its current condition unsafe given the fact that the road is filled with potholes and patches.