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Licking River Trail's Next Phase Faces Cost Overruns; City Looks for Options

The City of Covington continues to search for funding options for the Licking River Greenway & Trails after coming up $120,000 short for latest phase the project.

The Licking River Greenway & Trails would extend the walking and biking trail that runs along the flood wall from Randolph park to 21st Street.

It was originally estimated to cost nearly $600,000, but the lowest bidder, Dudley Construction, came in $170,000 over that. The state has since awarded Covington an additional $50,000 for the project, leaving the city still $120,000 short.

The commission, along with city engineer Mike Yeager, have looked for other funding option to cover the gap, however the only viable option is for the city to pull for CBDG funds, monies that come from the federal government, but both Yeager and Mayor Joseph Meyer opposed doing that because the city is about to move forward with other major projects.

Yeager said there are other options to decrease the overall cost of the project, but realistically that would only cut the deficit of the project to $60,000, and not make up the additional funds needed unless they shortened the length of the trail.

“I for one am not going a penny over $591,500 including all contingencies because that’s the budget amounted,” Meyer said, favoring the idea of doing the project in-house. “Quite honestly, if we have the people and resources and we can pool their skills to handle the paving, it’s not a significant effort quite frankly, it’s just good use of our people.”

However, both Yeager and Public Works director Rick Davis believe that the work is too complicated for the City to handle on its own.

Davis said that the city would have to rent special equipment to complete some of the work and wouldn’t be able to get their trucks in certain places to do parts of the trail, along with other complications.

The mayor maintained that the commission would not spend over the original projection of the cost of the trail and asked that Yeager and Davis look into other options to reduce the cost and complete the project within budget.

Yeager and Davis will be before the commission again in a few weeks to present the commission’s next options for the trail.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor

Photo: Licking River Greenway & Trails as it snakes through Austinburg (RCN file)