Greater Cleveland Trails and Greenway Conference Award
The City of Barberton's Southside Plan results from the award of an Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) planning grant. The Connecting Communities Grant studies the City's bicycle infrastructure and the potential to capitalize on the existing amenity of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The new trail system, extending from the Towpath to downtown's core, creates a multi-modal connection for cyclists and walkers. An involved steering community, led by the community foundation, city officials, private land owners and residents identified the importance of creating an implementable trail design.
Core to the design, is the tenet that the trail will enhance every component of the landscape it interfaces with. Increased landscaping, wayfinding elements and specialized signage create a beautiful and functional linkage that clearly demonstrates Barberton's commitment to its cycling community and the greater region. The route is determined by logical connections and integrates protected bike lanes, off-road trails and utilizes paths around the city's beautiful Lake Anna Park. The park attracts thousands of visitors per year and is home to several festivals and events - clearly serving as downtown's cornerstone of activity.
The new "Magic Mile" trail, a name coined by officials to celebrate Barberton's "Magic City" persona, is a downtown loop that extends the Towpath's reach into the city for novice and experienced cyclists alike. It's design emphasizes safety and provides an intuitive link for families and recreational users. The enhanced connection strengthens the City's identity along the 100-mile Towpath, creating a new asset and amenity to travelers along one of the state's longest and most scenic bikeways.