New Rails-to-Trails bridge spanning the Killbuck Creek connects east to west

New Rails-to-Trails bridge spanning the Killbuck Creek connects east to west
Dave Mast

Thanks to an Ohio Public Works' Green Space Conservation Program grant, this bridge project put forth by the Holmes County Park District will allow those using the Rails-to-Trails in Millersburg easy access to the wetlands at the former fairgrounds as well as Crissey Memorial Pool.


The Holmes County Rails-to-Trails that travels through Millersburg recently got a new addition when the Holmes County Park District finished the construction of a new bridge near Hipp Station.

The Holmes County Park District’s new bridge created a conduit from the east side of the Killbuck Creek to the west side, opening up a new avenue of travel that will serve as a safer route for trail traffic.

Jen Halverson, director of the Holmes County Park District, said the bridge project was a lengthy ordeal that took plenty of time to develop.

According to Halverson, several years ago Holmes County engineer Chris Young had the bridge removed from Steele’s Crossing. He approached Halverson about having the Park District utilize the bridge in some fashion.

“He said he had this bridge and it was really cool, and he wanted to find a way to integrate it into the trail in some way,” Halverson said. “It was a really intriguing idea because we are always looking for ways to improve the trail.”

The bridge was cleaned up and galvanized. Then it sat around for some time as plans got underway for possible ways to implement it.

Halverson said they spent plenty of time in the think tank trying to develop a game plan for the bridge, and at the same time they began exploring possible grant funding for the project.

With the Park District now in charge of the pool, the wetlands and the trail, Halverson said it simply made sense to connect all three with the bridge.

The grant funding for the bridge project came through Ohio Public Works’ Green Space Conservation Program. Halverson said connecting the fairgrounds’ wetland property to the trail allowed them to utilize the green-space funding.

Halverson said they had batted around a number of options in utilizing the former fairgrounds space, but she said over the past several months Mother Nature has reminded them on numerous occasions why the fair decided to move to higher grounds.

She said because of flooding, much of the area will become a natural wetlands area while the Park District will continue to monitor ways to mow it and create some usable green space for groups.

For now she is excited to finally have a connector between the two sides of the Killbuck Creek.

Once the idea came to fruition, it didn’t take long for them to realize the bridge was going to have a positive impact for the local community in particular.

While the bridge has been open for several weeks, Halverson said it is still so new that a lot of people don’t even realize it is there and available to move trail traffic from the trail, across the Killbuck Creek to the pool and wetlands area.

It also will provide safer travel for buggies and bikers from the trail to County Road 349, the road west of the old fairgrounds that goes to the Holmes County Dog Pound.

“It’s become a valuable conduit in that sense,” Halverson said. “I think once people realize that it is open and that it can be a big benefit, it will really be an asset. The feedback we have gotten has been very positive.”

Halverson said the odd thing about the bridge project is that when they first began thinking about locating it where it is just north of Hipp Station, neither the pool nor the former fairgrounds land was under the jurisdiction of the Park District. She said it was incredible the way everything came together, and now that the project is over, it will be exciting to see it benefit the community.

“The trail continues to grow in popularity among our community, both for recreational use and for Amish travel,” Halverson said. “We are really discovering what we have in the trail, and being able to connect it in as many ways as possible is important in getting people from point A to point B in our community.”

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