EATON — Heidi Bortel and Dan Schmidt from Preble Trails met with the Preble County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, Feb. 17, to discuss projects throughout the county.
According to their website, Preble Trails is “a Committee of the Preble County Youth Foundation focused on safe cycling and outdoor activity for all ages. The Preble County community is unique in its beauty and ruralness; we believes that cycling and outdoor activities in the county can be safer and more accessible through the good works of Preble Trials.”
Bortel said the organization’s first big project was securing funding for Safe Routes to School through ODOT.
“We were able to secure a quarter million dollar grant working with the city [of Eaton] and the school district to build better crosswalks, to have flashing lights at some of the areas where kids are crossing to go to school,” she said.
She added that crosswalks at dangerous intersections near Bruce Elementary School will be added in June or July of this year.
Preble Trails has also worked to complete the sidewalk in front of the Preble County YMCA in Eaton.
“The sidewalk wasn’t finished in front of the [YMCA] down to Seven Mile Park, so I wanted to be a little bit of a bulldog to try to get that to get done,” Schmidt said. “Kettering [Medical Center] was very gracious in jumping on board and taking care of that all the way to the park.”
The organization has also worked to provide local students with bike helmets.
“Any of the money that we raised for the different things that we do in the community, or grants that we have applied for, we purchase bike helmets and then we put on a program for the second graders at Eaton,” Schmidt said.
Two years ago, all Preble County second graders were included to receive helmets.
Later this year, Preble Trails will be part of a Family Bike Ride, a one-mile bike ride that goes through Fort St. Clair on June 26 at the same time as Friends of 4-H’s Buckeye Bridge Ride.
Additionally, the organization is working with ODOT to secure an active transportation plan to look at ways to improve Preble County’s infrastructure.
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles