Heart of Ohio Trail

CENTERBURG — The Heart of Ohio Trail Friends will soon begin construction of a Welcome Center on the Heart of Ohio Trail where the trail passes through the village, according to a press release issued by the organization to Knox Pages.

This Welcome Center will include a bicycle repair station, benches, and a bike rack on a concrete pad, the press release states. Future phases of this project are envisioned to include picnic tables and benches under a sheltered canopy, trailside restrooms with running water, and an arch welcoming visitors to Knox County, the Heart of Ohio, and the midpoint of the Ohio to Erie Trail.

"This project was made possible by generous grants from the Knox County Foundation and The Energy Cooperative Operation Round Up Foundation," the press release states. "The project inception began with a Boy Scout Eagle Scout project to erect a bicycle repair station on the trail in Centerburg.

"The Centerburg and Knox County community have embraced the project with broad volunteer and financial support."

Many Knox County residents cycle, run, hike, or walk the Heart of Ohio Trail. An increasing number of visitors are crossing the state on the Ohio to Erie Trail. A group believes a trailside Welcome Center at Centerburg invites visitors to venture into the village. Restaurants, antique shops, banks, the library, hardware, and other merchants will see more trail visitors.

Fundraising for the project is currently underway. Donations supporting the construction of the trailside Welcome Center and Centerburg Eagle Scout candidate, John Humphrey of Boy Scout Troop 383, will help in reaching his fundraising goal for the bicycle repair station. Online donations are accepted at http://bit.ly/HOOTwelcome or by mail to Heart of Ohio Trail Friends, PO Box 702, Centerburg, Ohio 43011.

The Knox County Foundation is a collection of individual philanthropic funds established by Knox County residents for a wide variety of charitable purposes. The Foundation investigates community needs, cooperatively designs solutions, and targets philanthropic dollars for the greatest impact.

The foundation awards grants in the form of scholarships, competitive grants from our unrestricted funds, annual designated fund distributions to local entities, and donor-advised grants to charities far and wide.

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The Energy Cooperative Round Up Foundation “rounds up” an Energy Cooperative member’s bill to the nearest dollar. That amount is then donated to local charities in their service area. The Energy Cooperative Round Up Foundation, Inc. has allocated funds to fire departments, senior citizen centers, school programs, agencies for the disabled, youth programs and in some cases to individuals with special needs.

The Heart of Ohio Trail Friends is a non-profit volunteer-based community organization that oversees maintenance of the Heart of Ohio Trail in cooperation with the Knox County Park District. Volunteers are often seen mowing grass along the trail, clearing leaves and fallen branches from the trail, and making improvements to the 15.5-mile rail trail.

The friends advocate for the use of the trail to improve the wellness and health of our community through nature. The Friends of the Heart of Ohio Trail is a strong voice for the Ohio to Erie Trail of which it is a segment of the Cincinnati to Cleveland rail trail.

Connect with the Heart of Ohio Trail Friends at heartofohiotrail.org and facebook.com/groups/399435533411462/.