The Niles Greenway Bike Path will officially open Oct. 12 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 12 at the Niles Trailhead at State Street and Robbins Avenue.
The construction of the bike path has been long awaited in the city, with planning that began more than 10 years ago. In 2003, Niles and Weathersfield Township agreed to work together on the construction. The barrier between the Niles and Weathersfield trails was taken down last month and riders have already taken to the trail. As part of their agreement, Niles and Weathersfield also will be sharing operation and maintenance responsibilities of the trail, as well as emergency response services.
''It was a long process and now it's done. It's a great quality of life addition to the community,'' said Niles Mayor Ralph Infante.
''A lot of people come a long way, stop and hit our restaurants downtown. So far we've been getting a lot of good feedback.''
Although funding was in place early in the project, many glitches in the trail's construction delayed the project for several years. These included acquiring possession of the property owned by CSX Railroad as well as the latest obstacle, the renovation of a historic bridge over the Mahoning River. The cost of the trail was $5.5 million and was nearly all paid for by grants.
The trail is 4.5 miles long with approximately two miles going through Niles into Weathersfield and on to Austintown and Canfield.
The Niles trail is part of the Great Ohio Lake to River Greenway, which is a more than 100-mile trail that once completed will run from Lake Erie in Ashtabula County to the Ohio River in Columbiana County. It is expected that the Greenway will eventually be part of a network of trails that will span the entire country.
Warren's trail is partially completed, with the next phase being 2.5 miles that will go through the city. The final 3.5 miles south of Warren will eventually connect to the Niles trail, although that project isn't expected to be complete until 2020.
Stoneyard Grill in downtown Niles is planning a Niles Trailhead Charity Bicycle Run to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. The bicycle run will begin at the Niles Trailhead, trail through Weathersfield and Austintown to the Canfield Trailhead and then return to Niles. Participants will be eligible for prizes. Information on that event will be forthcoming.