Ribbon cutting to officially open hike and bike trail

Krystyl Patterson

The Portage Hike and Bike Trail begins at the back of the parking lot in Dix Stadium. The trail opens tomorrow and was developed in hopes of connecting communities. REBECCA MOIDEL | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Dan Kloock

The Kent State portion of the Portage Hike and Bike Trail will celebrate its completion tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The trail, which many students unknowingly use every day, has been under construction for several years. The total completion of the Portage Hike and Bike Trail, however, is still a few years away.

This portion of the trail starts at Dix Stadium and passes through the center of campus, near the Student Center, ending at Lincoln Street.

The all-season trail has been under planning and construction for about 10 years. It is part of a series of trails that connects many parks, recreation areas and other trails throughout Northeast Ohio.

“It can be used to ski or Rollerblade,” said Tom Clapper, general manager of transportation services. “Many faculty members actually use it on their lunch break.”

The completion of the Kent State portion of the trail marks the connection of the city of Kent, Ravenna and Franklin and Ravenna townships.

Kent State became involved with the project for several reasons.

“This kind of activity is becoming more popular with people

college age,” Clapper said. “Students don’t realize all the things to do in this area.”

A stone culvert, boardwalks, bridges and overlooks enhance the scenery of the trail.

Clapper said the trail has been well received by the community.

“People want amenities where they live,” Clapper said. “This is bringing an amenity to our own back yard.”

Christine Craycroft, executive director of the Portage County Park District, said the trail is important for more than recreation.

“It is a physical connection for the community and Kent State,” she said. “It stimulates local economic development.”

Craycroft said each section of the trail will be maintained by the governing body of the area it crosses.

The ribbon cutting will take place north of the WKSU building, following the Bowman Cup Race.

A fun walk and run and a bicycle giveaway on the bridge will also take place.

“There will also be discount tickets for the football game,” Clapper said. “We encourage everyone to come out and walk the trail to the game.”

Kent State has reserved four-hour parking spots in the Summit East lot and at Dix Stadium for people using the trail.

Contact transportation reporter Krystyl Patterson at [email protected].