Trails and Trips Boost Ohio’s Economy
Bicycle Awareness Month is drawing to a close, and I’ve been inspired by great Bike/Walk to School Day events, Bike to Work Day events and National Bike Challenge promotions kicking off a safe, active summer for cyclists and walkers of all ages throughout Ohio. I have read great Facebook posts and news articles throughout the month, but two stood out because they got me thinking about the economic and social impacts of walking and biking infrastructure.
The first is “Trailside development could bring 95 new homes to Cleveland’s hard-hit Slavic Village” about the Trailside Slavic Village Project, a public-private partnership bringing new housing to this hard-hit neighborhood in Cleveland.
Besides the fact that it's new housing in an economically depressed urban core, its location next to the Morgana Run Trail is touted as selling point. Walking and cycling connectivity (the first 10 buyers receive a $450 bike!), the partnership, the urban revitalization and the local commitment are all benchmarks of this development. For a gal that grew up riding bike trails in the Cleveland Metroparks, it makes me happy to see this best kept secret for active living in Slavic Village. A more detailed article on the project’s history can be found here .
The second is “Cycling Event Brings Hundreds to Chillicothe”, an article about the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV) bicycle tour that took place May 11-12 from Columbus to Portsmouth,, a 210-mile round trip. It was expected to draw 2,500 cyclists, hundreds of volunteers and thousands more families and friends of participants. While the article highlights Chillicothe (the start of the half-TOSRV), it was the number of folks being brought to the Portsmouth area that intrigued me. What is the economic impact of this bike tour?
Scioto County/Portsmouth Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Kim Bauer estimates an average of 6,000 people visit Portsmouth during TOSRV in an 18 hour period. City and county hotel accommodations are booked solid, and are often booked a year in advance, guaranteeing a future patron. In addition to rider accommodation and dining expenditures, families visiting for the day add additional revenue through shopping, dining and fuel purchases. If each visitor spends $100 (a conservative estimate) that is a $600,000 economic windfall for this southern Ohio community with one of the highest poverty rates in Ohio.
These are just two stories that caught my eye – if you have a bicycle or pedestrian success in your community, please contact me – the more we know and share, the better connected Ohio will be!
Kate Moening is the Ohio Advocacy Organizer for the Ohio Safe Routes Network, supported by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Ohio Safe Routes Network website .