Southeast Ohio - DIRT, GRAVEL, BRICK, PAVEMENT

Author: AthensBicycleClub

A Baileys Trails Call-to-Action from Danny Twilley

The Baileys needs your help now! Athens County Commissioners need to fund the best bet we have for a stronger economic future for Athens County, the Baileys Trail System.

It has been a long time since I have seen or talked with many of you, but I hope you are all well, especially during these unique times. I am writing to you as a supporter, advocate, and user of the Baileys Trail System. Many people have worked tirelessly out of sheer passion and love for making a difference in SE Ohio to bring the first 14 miles of trails to fruition. If you have been on the trails or followed social media, one thing is very clear, both locals and visitors LOVE the Baileys. The first 14 miles were designed to lower the barrier of entry by providing multiple user groups with a positive trail experience. For proof, see the latest post by Penny Shelton on Facebook. Last week when I was out there I saw a grandfather with his 13 year old grandson riding together having so much fun. On recent weekends, there have consistently been over 40 cars in the parking lot by 10am. All this excitement and joy from just 14 miles! Just imagine what will happen when we get to 88 miles, but in order to get there we need your help. And we need it now! We need to reignite the show of support for the trails to the Athens County Commissioners, much in the same manner we did with City Council; however, it will need to look a little different because of COVID-19.

More kids on bikes!

The Baileys Trails have helped to get more kids on bikes!

What we know?

The Athens County Commissioners set aside $90,000 in the budget for Baileys construction this year; however, funds were not released once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Athens County Commissioners have recently updated their budget expectations, showing a 2% reduction in expected revenue. The budget line item for Baileys construction remains.

What we need from the Commissioners?

We need the Athens County Commissioners to match the annual $90K commitment to the Baileys Trails that the City of Athens made in December 2019. They can start the commitment by providing the $90,000 that they already set aside this year. The City of Athens has also committed $35,000 toward local match for the State funding to build the next 11 miles of the Baileys Trails, which is already under construction.

How can you help?

There are several options for you to help. Please feel free to do one, all  of them, or anything in between)

  1. Email the commissioners expressing your support for the Baileys Trail System.  Tell them how important the trail system is to you and Please include all three commissioners on the email.
  2. If you live in or near Athens County, then write a letter to the editor of either the Athens News (news@athensnews.com) or the Athens Messenger (info@athensmessenger.com) that expresses why you support the county helping fund the Baileys Trail System.
  3. Show your support for funding for the Baileys Trails project by tuning in to the County Commissioners weekly Zoom meetings (link: https://zoom.us/j/358908636 ). The Athens Bicycle Club will work on getting the word out on the scheduled time that the Baileys is on the agenda each week. The meetings start at 9:30 am every Tuesday, so I know not everyone can take time to do this during the work day, but the more presence we have on the meetings the more impact our message will have. Tune in to the Commissioners Meeting tomorrow, July 21 at 10:30 am  for the next discussion on the Baileys Trails funding with the County Commissioners.

    Downhill section of Lost Marbles Trail.

    Downhill section of Lost Marbles Trail, with 2 riders.

Important Considerations

Here are a few points that could help you get started with any of the above. This is not exhaustive but a start.

  •  The county is last to the table to fund and support, when they should have been first
    • At the November 18th, 2019 City Council Meeting- Chris Chmiel started speaking at 1:59 (https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=2364184343703818&ref=watch_permalink ) and said several things so watch it, specifically he said, “… The commissioners we’re waiting for you to take action, but I believe we are supportive. The fact that the Wayne came to us with this innovative idea is I believe is a god sent I think”
    • We are still waiting for the County Commissioners to make a positive move
  • Local advocates helped bring the city to the table along with so many community advocates and various groups. We have helped to creat support across Federal, State, and Local jurisdictions.
  • The County Commissioners wanted ORCA to be created so they have a say in the project and what happens on Wayne NF land that they do not own. Done. The Wayne National Forest agreed and ORCA was created.
  • Our partner, Quantified Ventures is losing steam and the ability to stay involved in the project. Their involvement brought State and the Federal support the project, but the county needs to act.
  • Many entities have already invested or committed almost $8M into the Baileys project:
    • The U.S. Forest Service has contributed: $1,200,000
    • National Forest Foundation/REI $150,000
    • Transportation Alternatives Funds: $1,500,000
    • Clean Ohio Trail Fund: $224,780
    • Recreational Trails Program: $300,000
    • Abandoned Mine Land Funds: $1,900,000
    • Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Grant: $1,235,727
    • Community Development Block Grant neighborhood Revitalization Grant: $515,000
    • Other partners have contributed: $885,000

Thanks again for your time in helping us get the Baileys across the finish line.

Cheers,

Danny Twilley

Baileys Trail System Funding Approved by Athens City Council & Volunteer Work Day, Dec 14

The Athens City Council on Monday December 9, approved the Baileys Trail System project funding ordinance on its final reading. During the discussion, most members of council spoke in support of the Baileys Trail System and of the city directly investing in the project. After 2 months of deliberations, the city council surprised most pundits by passing the funding for the Baileys by a vote of 6 to 0. The New Political reported that “As the vote was announced as unanimous, Council President Chris Knisely, said ‘This is historic,’ amidst the uproarious applause from the many citizens in attendance.”

The positive outcome has been the result of involvement by many players, from national level support by the US Forest Service and Quantified Ventures, to regional and local organizations, to residents, and even those from outside the Athens area that have expressed their anticipation of the project and expectations to come to Athens to ride and enjoy the local food and culture.

The unanimous resulting vote by council is clearly evidence of the importance of this project to the economic future of the area.

After the city’s passage of funding for the project, Athens County Commissioners have already begun discussions about the county contributing funding toward the project. Stay tuned for more news on this as it becomes available.

Baileys Volunteer Trail Work Day – Saturday Dec 14, 8:00 AM

Come on out this Saturday and volunteer to assist trail builders, Black Diamond Designs and Linear-Active, to get the Phase 1 trails at the Baileys completed this month, and get a free preview of how awesome these trails are going to be. 

Dress for the weather, wear trail clothes, boots, bring work gloves and water/snacks. If you would like to join in after the meetup time of 8:00 AM, contact Danny Twilley to coordinate.

Location of Chauncey Park, along the railroad tracks near State Route 13.
Location of Chauncey Park, along the railroad tracks near State Route 13.

Point of contact for these and other Baileys trail work volunteer opportunities is Danny Twilley, cell: 410-708-7254, email: twilley@ohio.edu

Link to Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/449100655801037/?event_time_id=449100659134370

Final Vote on Athens City Council Ordinance to Fund the Baileys Trail Project, Monday Dec. 9, 7:00 PM

The 3rd and FINAL Reading — and most importantly, THE VOTE– on the Baileys Trail Funding Ordinance at Athens City Council is coming up tomorrow, Monday Dec 9, 2019. 7:00 PM. Please come out, one final time, to the Athens City Council meeting to show your support for the Baileys Trail System project.

It’s been a lengthy timeline to achieve approval for the City of Athens to help fund the Baileys Trail System project. The ordinance reached 3rd reading in early November, but was tabled after Council Members raised questions and requested further information. After untabling, and amending the ordinance to give the city more control over the future of funding for the project, they had to send the amended ordinance through the same process of three successive readings prior to a vote. So this week, the FINAL vote on the funding ordinance is happening.

Come to the City Council meeting on Monday, December 9, 2019, at 7:00 PM, to show your support of the Baileys Trail project. Filling the council chambers will show that we mean business. The vote is the first item on the agenda, so depending on the number of questions and comments by Council and the public, the vote should be taken by 7:30 or 8:00 PM.

We will convene at Jackie O’s Brew Pub in Uptown Athens after the final vote, regardless of the outcome. We will either be celebrating the momentous occasion, or downing our tears and working on strategy for the future. Find more information about the event here.

Baileys Trail Athens City Funding Update

The previously tabled city ordinance to help fund the Baileys Trail project (tabled at the last council meeting on 4 Nov) is on the agenda for the Athens City Council meeting tomorrow night, Monday Nov 18, 2019. There will be a proposal to bring the funding ordinance back for discussion and likely amendments.

The most likely scenario tomorrow is for the funding ordinance to be amended, and receive its first of 3 readings. The other 2 readings will need to occur by the last Council meeting in 2019, on December 16, which should NOT be a problem.

There still seem to be some council members that are opposed to the ordinance because of the amount of the hotel tax and/or the number of years (20) that the payments will be made.

We’d love to get people out to show support for the project tomorrow, but what will be more important is to show up for the 3rd reading, which will likely be on Monday Dec. 16. Mark your calendars.

If you haven’t yet sent an email to city council in support of the Baileys Trail Project this Fall, then please consider doing so now. You can find information on who to send the email to, and an example email template here:

Baileys Trail Project Action Alert!

Baileys Trail Project Action Alert!

The Baileys Trail System needs your help. Athens City Council members need to hear from you prior or at to the council meeting this Monday, Nov 4th. 

The Athens City Council is currently in the process of reviewing the proposal for the city to help fund the Baileys Trail Project. The ordinance is up for final reading and a vote on Monday, November 4, 2019, and is first on the agenda at 7:00 PM. If the ordinance is tabled or fails to pass on Monday, then this will delay the project, and threaten funding that is being lined up from the county, investors, and grant sources that is dependent on the city’s relatively small contribution to the project. Note that the city is proposing spending hotel taxes (transient guest tax), not property or other taxes toward the project. 

Here are 2 courses of action to voice your support for the Baileys Trail Project at this important juncture: 

1) Send an email to City Council telling them that you support the project and that the city should fund the project as proposed. Send the email to the Clerk of Council Debbie Walker (dwalker@ci.athens.oh.us) and cc Mayor Steve Patterson (spatterson@ci.athens.oh.us). In your email, ask Clerk Walker to distribute your message to all council members. Alternatively, if you prefer, you may send the message to individual council members. Here is the link to Athens City Council web page with the list of members and their email addresses. Also, see the example email template below. 

You don’t need to be a city resident to contact city council in support of the proposed funding ordinance, but be sure to tell council members where you live, and that when you visit the Baileys Trails that you will spend money in the City of Athens. It might help to mention the local businesses that you like to visit.

2) Attend the City Council meeting on Monday at 7:00 PM, and be prepared to briefly speak in support of the project. It is first on the agenda, so you can show up and leave as soon as the item is completed, no need to stay for the entire council meeting. 

Thanks. Your participation and support is very important right now in order to ensure passage of the funding ordinance. 

Here is an example email template. Copy and paste, and edit to customize the message as you see fit.

——————-email template starts here—————————-

Clerk Debbie Walker,
Please forward the following message to all Athens City Council members prior to the Monday Council Meeting on Nov 4, 2019.

Athens City Council,
I am writing to you in support of the Baileys Trail System in the Athens Unit of the Wayne National Forest. I’m hoping that you will support passage of the proposed ordinance 0-110-19, which will provide funding from the City of Athens to directly support the Baileys project.

The Baileys Trail has the potential to provide a sizeable economic boost through increased visitation and tourism to the region. The City of Athens already has the businesses and amenities to draw the Baileys visitors once they get in Athens County, and thus the city is likely to benefit the most economically from the completed Baileys Trail System.

If the City fails to provide direct financial support to the project, then that will jeopardize other funding for the project that are dependent on the city’s contribution, potentially including Athens County’s contribution, millions of dollars of investment funding, and State and Federal grants. If the city does not act, the project implementation will drag out development of the trails for at least an additional 4-8 years, delaying the much needed economic benefits for the area.

The Baileys Trail System is an opportunity that Athens cannot afford to miss out on. Coal mining and other extractive industries have provided a boom and bust economy throughout the history of the area. From an environmental and economic perspective, the Baileys Project is exactly what Athens needs and what we must invest in if we want to find sustainable economic alternatives for the city and the region.

<Your Name>
<Your Address>
<Your Email>
——————email template ends here——————————————  

For Reference: Ordinance 0-110-19 for Third Reading:
AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR TO ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM THE CITY’S TRANSIENT GUEST TAX TO THE OUTDOOR RECREATION COUNCIL OF APPALACHIA (ORCA) FOR FUNDING THE BAILEY’S TRAIL SYSTEM ALONG WITH OTHER RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. Introduced by Council Member Risner

Homecoming Bike Parade – Join Athens Bicycle Club for a fun and funky ride with Passion Works

Next Saturday, October 12 join us for a fun and funky bike ride with Passion Works as part of the OHIO University Homecoming Parade. Come on out to Passion Works (located at 20 E. State St in Athens, link to map) on Wednesday, Oct 9th, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm to decorate your bike.

Bikes, bicycles, bicycle enthusiasts, and cyclists of all kinds are asked to join in a public showing of the Athens bicycle community. Come to Passion Works on Wednesday, October 12 from 6-8pm to decorate your bike. Then bring your spiffy ride out on Saturday to accompany the Passion Works float in the Ohio University Homecoming Parade. Donations suggested for art supplies.

For more information, including Saturday line-up instructions, visit the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1437153886437257

Baileys, Brews, and Blues – Wednesday October 2, 2019

Baileys Trail System Update and Social

Coming soon: a world-class mountain biking and recreation experience in Athens County, Ohio! Join us at Eclipse Company Store on October 2 at 6:00PM to hear the latest news about the start of trail building and the plans for the future of the Baileys Trail System and outdoor recreation in Athens County, Ohio.

Baileys, Brews & Blues event flyer

The Baileys Trail System has been many years in the making. Initial concept and plans date to the 1990s. In the past few years, a core group of volunteers, organizations, and government entities have worked hard to realize this dream of a world-class mountain bike and recreational trail system. The first 13 miles of trail should be ready to ride next spring.

Once built to its full 88-mile planned extent, the trail system will highlight the ridges and slopes of the 9,000-acre Baileys Tract on the Wayne National Forest, and will have direct community connections to Nelsonville, Buchtel, and Chauncey, as well as bikeway connectivity to Athens and The Plains via the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. With 15 million people living within 150 miles of The Baileys Trails System has the potential to become destination for trail-based recreation enthusiasts throughout the Midwest.

Studies show that building a mountain bike trail destination boosts local economies through tourism and provides health benefits to citizens by providing safe, accessible places to walk, run, bike, and enjoy nature. With the physical connectivity of the Baileys trail system to area communities, it is intended that the trail system will provide a source of community pride, and foster an appreciation for the management and conservation of public lands.

Come on out to Eclipse Craft Beer Hall on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm to get an update on the Baileys Trail Project, throw back some brews, network with others that are interested in the project, and even listen to some live blues music, as Blues Cowboys are playing on the stage outside at Eclipse till 8:00 PM.

The Baileys Trail System is poised to become the flagship of an extensive array of recreational opportunities already available in Athens County, including mountain biking, hiking, trail running, equestrian, kayaking, and canoeing, in Strouds Run State Park, the Hocking River, City of Athens parks, Ohio University, Hocking College, and Athens Conservancy preserves. 

mountain biking group ride
mountain biking group ride

Baileys, Brews & Blues is made possible by the participation of many organizations involved with the Baileys Trail System project including Athens Bicycle Club, Wayne National Forest, Rural Action, Athens County Foundation, Applied Trails Research, Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ohio University Recreation Department, Village of Chauncey, the Ohio Recreational Council of Appalachia (ORCA), among others. 

Event Schedule

  • 6:00-7:00 PM  Introductions, panel presentation and question/answer session
  • 7:00-8:00 PM  Informal social and musical performance on the outdoor stage

The event will be held in the upstairs space of the Eclipse Company Store, located at 11309 Jackson Dr, The Plains, Ohio. Food and drink will be available for purchase downstairs in the Eclipse Company Store, and may be brought upstairs for consumption throughout the event. Attendees can also enjoy a free outdoor music performance by the band Blues Cowboys until 8:00 PM.

Visit the event page on Facebook at: 
https://www.facebook.com/events/382444419089851/
For more info on the Baileys Trail project, visit this website: https://www.baileys-trail-system.com/

Google Map to Eclipse Craft Beer Hall in The Plains, Ohio.

City of Athens Named a Top 20 City for Bikes in 2019 by Places For Bikes

Athens, Ohio  PeopleForBikes has released its second annual ratings of bicycling in U.S. cities — a data-driven analysis that evaluates the safety, appeal and infrastructure of bicycling in more than 500 communities and provides nationwide rankings. Athens ranks 20th overall out of over 500 cities and is the only city in Ohio to rank in the top 100 nationally.

The PlacesForBikes City Ratings are designed to show cities where they stand — and provide insight into where infrastructure investments should be made to build complete, connected bike networks. The 2019 PlacesForBikes City Ratings score 510 U.S. cities based on five key areas: Ridership (how many people ride bikes?), Safety (how safe is it to ride bikes?), Network (how easy is it for people to get where they need to go?), Acceleration (how fast is the bike network expanding?) and Reach (how well the network serves all neighborhoods in the community). Athens performed well in the Safety, Network, and Reach categories. 

“In the City of Athens bicycles have become more than simply a piece of recreational equipment, they are increasingly viewed as a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation for work and non-work trips alike, “ said Athens Mayor Steve Patterson. “With the increase of cyclists on the road here in Athens, it is obvious that bicycle mobility is having an economic impact in regards to the consumer choices and even location choices for businesses catering to the bicycling passersby or for their own bicycle commuting employees.”

People for Bikes City Rating 2019 Top 20 Cities
People for Bike City Rating 2019 – Top 20 Cities in the US

“The City Ratings highlights the hard work of The City of Athens to create places to bike that are safe and easily connect people to destinations all around the city,” said Tim Blumenthal, president of PeopleForBikes. “We hope Athens will use this data to continue expanding their bike network to provide even better bike riding experiences.”

Data for the ratings comes from existing sources (including the U.S. Census American Community Survey and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System), as well as new sources developed by the PeopleForBikes team to capture city-specific data based on mapping, city planning information, and survey responses from community members. From these sources, 184 calculations are performed per city to determine individual category scores, as well as a city or town’s overall score. Read more about the methodology here: https://cityratings.peopleforbikes.org/methodology/.

“It is exciting that PeopleForBikes has recognized Athens as one of the nation’s top twenty cities for bicycling, be it for recreation or transportation. I think that the two main factors that have established Athens as an exemplary place to ride, above so many other US cities, is the amazing resource of the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, and our outstanding bicycling safety record,” said Rob Delach, Communications Officer of the Athens Bicycle Club and HockHocking Adena Bikeway Advisory Committee Secretary. “It is my hope that the city will continue to build on this achievement. The Athens City Council is currently considering passing a Complete Streets policy and ordinances that will help the city better manage a bicycle share system. It is these kinds of forward-thinking measures that will help improve our streets to encourage more people get on bikes as part of their daily activities.”

Links to articles about the 2019 People for Bikes City Ratings:

Athens News:
https://www.athensnews.com/news/local/athens-names-a-top-city-for-bikes-in-city-ratings/article_85ff2570-71b5-11e9-af40-4fa5471ca8be.html

Fast Company (leading business media and design online resource):
https://www.fastcompany.com/90344811/these-are-the-top-20-cities-for-biking-in-the-u-s

Athens Messenger:
https://www.athensmessenger.com/news/athens-recognized-as-bike-friendly-city/article_632898be-5563-575a-89ef-440a2ade5346.html

Athens Bicycle Friendly Community Survey

In February 2019, the City of Athens submitted an application to renew the Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) status awarded to the City of Athens by the League of American Bicyclists in 2014. The Spring 2019 BFC review process is now officially underway. To help the League of  American Bicyclists gain a better understanding of local bicyclists’ experiences and perceptions of bicycling in Athens, the City would appreciate your help in providing feedback. Please consider submitting information using the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/adv_BFC_SP19League of American Bicyclists logo

The survey will close on Sunday, March 24.  The League of American Bicyclists plans to make an announcement about Athens updated status as a Bicycle Friendly Community in May, 2019.

Bikeway at W. Union St, Athens Bicycle Friendly Community Sign

Bikeway at W. Union St, Athens Bicycle Friendly Community Sign

Additional information on Athens rating as a bicycle friendly place can be found on the PlacesforBikes City Ratings webpage, where the rating is based on five factors: Ridership, Safety, Network, Reach and Acceleration. Each city’s score is determined using publicly available data and new research tools developed by PeopleForBikes. View Athens’ rating here: https://cityratings.peopleforbikes.org/city/athens/

PeopleforBikes Athens City Rating 2018

PeopleforBikes Athens City Rating 2018

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