TORONTO - The biking and walking trailway through the Gem City now extends into the neighboring hamlets of Empire and Stratton, extending the pathway to 14 miles.
The pathway has been in the works since January 2012, when members of the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization approached City Council with the idea of establishing a walking and biking pathway through the city.
The city now has that pathway, with "sharrows" and distance markers marking the pathway winding through Toronto.
RIBBON-CUTTING CEREMONY — The Toronto Coalition for Revitalization along with other officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday marking the establishment of the Gem City’s walking and biking pathway onto county Road 7F and into Empire and Stratton. Those taking part in the ceremony included, from left, Bob Bratt, coalition member; state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire; Don Clarke, Toronto Chamber of Commerce member; Gail Komar, coalition secretary/treasurer; Kristan Komar; George Komar, coalition president; Becky Latynski, Toronto Chamber president; state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville; and Tom Graham, Jefferson County commissioner. - Contributed
On July 23 the coalition saw the second phase of its project completed, with the pathway now officially extending to Empire and Stratton via county Road 7F.
It's been a fairly brief process since city officials and the coalition agreed to the establishment of the trail, when planning began in the early spring of 2012 followed by the establishment of two pathways in Toronto by June 2012.
One pathway runs from South River Avenue from the city sewage treatment plant to Spring Street for a total of 2.2 miles.
The second pathway at Daniels Street proceeds to Grant Street, then Jefferson Street to the War Memorial Municipal Pool.
The pathway then proceeds to Madison Avenue, turns onto Federal Street, then to Ridge Avenue onto Wentworth Avenue to Karaffa Middle School on School Street.
A kiosk with information on the biking trail was erected at Sloane Station Square at the corner of Fourth and Market streets.
The coalition officials met in September with county Engineer Jim Branagan and Jefferson County Commissioners Tom Graham and Tom Gentile on extending the pathway north on county Road 7F.
"Share the Road" signs then were agreed upon, with walkers, bikers and motorists sharing the road.
In October a 16-mile loop was planned, and sponsorship for "No Dumping" signs, while members of the Toronto Boy Scout Troop 41 along with coalition members and other volunteers cleaned Route 7F. Sharrows and mile markers in Toronto were completed by city crews and coalition members in October.
In December the "Share the Road" and "No Dumping" signs were placed on county Road 7F.
The coalition sponsored a Bike Rodeo on May 18, and organized bike rides beginning at 6 p.m. every Tuesday have become popular during the past year, according to Bob Merideth, co-organizer and coalition member.
"We have 14 (miles) of the 16-mile loop finished," said Merideth. "What we want to do now is expand what we have."
Merideth said there were close to 100 sharrows outlining the route, as well as Share the Road signs on county Road 7F, at each Toronto exit and two in Empire. Future plans include establishing a kiosk at the the site of the former city high school once it's demolished and a parking lot established.
Coalition members also thanked John Geddis, Toronto mayor; John Abdalla, Stratton mayor; and Frank Martin, Empire mayor, for their assistance.
"They were very instrumental in getting this accomplished," said George Komar, coalition president.