It’s a win-win-win proposition.
The Ohio River Road Runners Club is sponsoring the Build a Bridge 5K & 10K at Eastwood MetroPark on Saturday, Aug. 16. The event will help Five Rivers MetroParks raise much-needed funds to replace a bridge that currently spans the Eastwood Lagoon.
“We hold a majority of our events in the MetroParks, so it’s good for us and it’s good for the MetroParks, as well as the community,” said Aneesa Bhimani-Trimble, ORRRC secretary.
The bridge – which is part of both the Buckeye and North Country trails as well as the new bikeway extensions on Creekside and Mad River Trail bikeways – was condemned by inspection engineers in late 2013 and deemed unsafe for all vehicular traffic, including park maintenance vehicles. The estimated cost for the bridge replacement is $175,000 and construction is expected to begin in November.
“The bridge is a vital connection between the two sides of the park and the trail systems,” said Chris Pion park service project manager for Five Rivers MetroParks. “It’s very heavily used as a bikeway and we also see a lot of through hikers on the Buckeye and North Country trails.”
While it is difficult to estimate how many people use the bridge, the estimated annual attendance at Eastwood MetroPark is just under 200,000. And the trails see extensive use by both cyclists and hikers.
The Mad River Trail starts at RiverScape MetroPark and ends at Huffman MetroPark while Creekside Trail starts at Eastwood and travels east to Xenia. The Iron Horse Trail – which branches off from Creekside – extends to Centerville.
Dayton is one of only two designated Buckeye Trail Towns along the 1,444 miles of trails that wind around Ohio. And the North Country Trail – America’s longest National Scenic Trail – which links seven states, from New York to North Dakota, also runs though Eastwood MetroPark.
When the ORRRC heard about the condition of the bridge, they wasted little time lending a hand.
“We host runs so we thought ‘why don’t we host a fundraising run,’ ” Bhimani-Trimble said.
In addition to hosting a pair of runs – a 5K and 10K – the ORRRC board will also make a matching funds contribution.
“We are very fortunate to have a group like the ORRRC that sees the values of the parks we have,” Pion said.
The event is not limited to club members. It is open to all who want to run, jog or walk for a good cause. For information, visit www.orrrc.org.