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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

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

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