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Part of airport trail opens

Oct. 06, 2012 @ 11:02 AM

HEBRON, Ky. (AP) — After nearly a decade of dreaming, planning and working, officials have dedicated the first section of a multi-use trail surrounding the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Steve Wilmhoff, who worked with his friend, David Zimmer, to get the project going, told The Kentucky Enquirer (http://cin.ci/PZxoBB) that is fulfilling to see their dream realized.

“It’s very exciting to look down this road and see all these people and the kids riding and walking this trail,” Wilmhoff said. “Hopefully this is just the beginning.”

The CVG Trail is adjacent to the new 2.7-mile Aero Parkway.

“The ultimate goal would be a trail all the way around the airport, which would be about 22 miles,” Wilmhoff said. “We have permission from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state for the first two phases of the trail, but the rest of the route is undefined.”

When Wilmhoff and Zimmer first began to discuss the trail, it was more a dream than anything else, but they began checking what it would take to make it possible.

“The first phone call we made was to Chuck Melville, who was chief of police at the airport at that time, and we knew if he had trouble with the idea we were stuck,” Wilmhoff said.

They got his support, and then asked the Kenton County Airport Board for its support.

Richard Crist, who was board chairman at the time nearly 10 years ago, remembers it clearly.

“We hear a lot of ideas about things to do that involve the airport and they are not always such great ideas,” Crist said. “This one seemed very promising.”

The idea starting gaining more community support along the way until a group that became the Friends of the CVG Trail formed and lobbied local elected officials to move forward with work.

“Everyone we talked to liked the idea,” Wilmhoff said. “There really isn’t a downside to it, but even though there is no land acquisition involved there are costs and that was a roadblock.”

However, construction planned for Aero Parkway meant the trail got a boost too.

“These days you have to build a multi-modem component in any road that has federal funding,” Boone County Planning Commission Director Kevin Costello said. “It could be something like the wide sidewalks that were included on Mall Road or a multi-purpose use like you have on Aero Parkway.”

Zimmer says he hopes having a section of the trail open helps attract more interest and support for the next phase of the project.

“Now that it’s done, and because of where it’s located, I think it’s going to get used quite a bit and people will see what an asset it is,” Zimmer said.