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Published: Monday, 12/9/2013

Sylvania designs 3 options for extending River Trail at Flower Hospital

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The City of Sylvania is moving forward on the second phase of the River Trail project.

Preliminary designs are in the works for three possible paths that will cross into ProMedica’s Flower Hospital campus.

“We are looking at three different options for the path going across Flower Hospital and have begun preliminary engineering on each to determine the cost and the best route, which will ultimately factor into which route is taken,” said Kevin Aller, city service director.

A first phase of the trail completed last year runs along Ten Mile Creek between Main Street and Harroun Road. Two phases would extend the trail west to Silica Drive and east to Flower Hospital, east from Harroun across hospital property near the Ottawa River and on to Monroe Street east of U.S. 23.

The planned extension of the River Trail on the hospital’s campus has been under review because initial design plans completed four years ago routed it south of the river and near a cancer hospice facility. Hospital officials said such a path that close to the building would infringe on the privacy of patients and their families. However, alternative routes pushed the trail north into floodplains which would prove more costly to build as it might require an elevated path.

The city previously preferred an upland route, because building the trail in the floodplain could nearly double the east-end phase’s $1.2 million construction cost estimate as well as the design costs, now budgeted at $300,000.

The city and hospital recently renewed discussions of the trail, and now  the three path options include two of which enter the floodplains. The third would route the bike and walking trail south and loop around the campus.

“The south one is being looked at, but has several disadvantages,” Mr Aller said.

For $17,000, engineers SmithGroup JJR of Ann Arbor will provide cost estimates for each trail, including building an elevated walkway through the floodplains.

Mayor Craig Stough said the preliminary design cost will be split by ProMedica and the city. The city will use money from the general fund for the preliminary designs. The hospital is donating the land for the trail.

Mr. Aller said the engineering will be completed within 90 days. Although there is no set date for the second phase of the extension, city officials said there are grant funds available in 2014 that could cover most of the cost.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.



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