Fundraising milestone reached for 34-mile CROWN trail project


CINCINNATI — After raising $10 million in private funding, Cincinnati is one step — or a very short bike ride — closer to completing the first phase of a 34-mile urban trail loop around the region. .

What do you want to know

  • P&G, Kroger Health and UDF each donated $1 million to help build a 34-mile urban trail
  • CROWN aims to safely connect 54 neighborhoods in greater Cincinnati via a multi-use trail
  • Initial goal is to connect Wasson Way, Little Miami Scenic and Ohio River and Murray Path trails
  • The effort is led by the Tri-State Trails organization

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has joined Kroger Health and UDF as major contributors to the fundraising campaign highlighted by CROWN, which stands for the Cincinnati Riding Or Walking Network. It’s a grassroots effort led by the Tri-State Trails organization.

The three companies each committed $1 million to the project, as did the Marge Foundation and Charles J. Schott.

Tri-State Trails has dubbed these major donors the “CROWN Jewel” partners because their financial contributions will go a long way toward making the project a reality. The initial goal is to connect the Wasson Way, Little Miami Scenic and Ohio River trails and Murray Path, a multi-use between Settle Road and Plainville Road along the old streetcar line on the east side of greater Cincinnati.

In total, more than 450 companies, foundations and individuals have contributed financially to the project so far, per Tri-State Trails.

“Improving physical connections in our neighborhoods is fundamental to improving the health, wealth and future success of our region,” said Damon Jones, chief communications officer for P&G. “An important part of P&G’s efforts to be a force for good and a force for growth is to improve the quality of life where we live and work, and to do so equitably. The CROWN helps fulfill this mission by connecting disparate communities across Cincinnati with a focus on equitable access to the many health, recreation, and transportation options the area has to offer.

The proposed CROWN multi-use trail. (provided: CROWN)

The initial phase of the project will leverage $44 million in public funding and $10 million in private donations to realize the vision of Cincinnati’s first-ever urban trail loop by connecting several key regional trails that are currently not contiguous. By building key connectors between these trails, Tri-State Trails said they would be able to complete the 24-mile eastern portion of the planned CROWN Loop.

When completed, the CROWN will connect 54 communities around Cincinnati. Project partners said it will give them better connectivity to major destinations, such as job centers, universities, business districts, parks and attractions.

In a statement, project partners said the multi-use trail will also provide a safe transportation option to experience “the best of the region.

“Not only do trails provide a safe recreation and transportation opportunity for families in neighboring neighborhoods, they also improve quality of life by creating stronger, more connected communities,” said firm co-chair Jan Portman. of the CROWN campaign. “We believe the CROWN will be a ribbon of positive energy surrounding our queen city.”

In December 2021, the City of Cincinnati opened the newest phase of Wasson Way, crossing Ault Park to Hyde Park on a former rail trestle and connecting to the Murray Path at Old Red Bank Road.

The current trail corridor extends 5.6 miles from Xavier University to Mariemont, Ohio. Over the next two years, Wasson Way will extend another 2 miles west through the Xavier campus, connecting to the Avondale neighborhood and linking the Uptown Innovation Corridor to MLK Jr. Drive, which n It’s not far from the University of Cincinnati campus.

Cincinnati City Council member and former P&G employee Mark Jeffreys tweeted that the news was “fantastic” for the area. A strong proponent of cycling, Jeffreys has previously spoken frequently about the city’s need to expand local cycling infrastructure, including expanding the protected bike path on Central Parkway.

Jeffreys joined Tri-State Trails, other cycling advocates and Mayor Aftab Pureval on a bike ride through Washington Park ahead of the inauguration ceremony for him and other newly elected Cincinnati leaders Jan. 4.

“This is fantastic news! Thank you Procter & Gamble for your continued support in the community. Now we also need to build the CROWN rays – protected pathways that connect neighborhoods, jobs, shopping and recreation,” Jeffreys tweeted.

Additional federal and state grants are underway to complete the Ohio River Trail from Lunken Airport to downtown and to connect the Murray Trail from Mariemont to the Little Miami Scenic Trail at Newtown Road.

Project CROWN aims to add another 10 miles to its overall plan through fundraising and additional trails. Future efforts will also incorporate the West Ohio River Trail, Mill Creek Greenway Trail, and canal cycle path.

The nonprofit effort is led by Tri-State Trails, Wasson Way, and Ohio River Way. It’s backed by a public-private partnership that includes the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County Great Parks, and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority.

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