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Trail system plans being considered for O'Hara Township's RIDC Park

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
The Herald
Employees from RIDC Park in O'Hara must continue their lunchtime walks on the street until trails are put in place. Jan Pakler | for The Herald

The fledgling RIDC Business Alliance has hit the ground running with ideas to improve the office park in O'Hara.

The group is hoping to construct a trail system through the property that straddles Route 28 and is home to more than 130 businesses.

“We're concerned about safety issues,” said Judy Mihon, alliance board member and business manager at Vascor, located in the park.

“During lunch on a nice day there are literally hundreds of people out walking in the streets.”

There are no walkways or sidewalks for those trying to stretch their legs during lunch hours or for employees who ride public transportation and trek up the hill from Blawnox to get into RIDC, Mihon said.

Safety concerns were an instigating factor in forming the business alliance. Mihon said members aim to improve the business park for its employees and to attract potential business.

There are possibilities for group purchases in an effort to save money too, she said.

“We could put bids out for landscaping or snow removal for several businesses to get a better price,” she said.

In its first year, the business alliance purchased a new directory sign for the property entrance. It was paid for by the group's 50 member companies.

“We all get so many walk-ins, asking where a street or a business is,” Mihon said.

“This will benefit everyone.”

The potential trail system also could be a help to many, she said, including residents of nearby communities.

“We want to improve the quality of the environment,” Mihon said. “Not only for the employees, but for residents.

“After hours, you find all sorts of residents walking their dogs up here.”

O'Hara Township manager Julie Jakubec said she is open to the idea but it would start with discussions by members of the township's parks and recreation committee.

Installing trails through RIDC Park was something considered by the township as a long-range project when officials devised a trail feasibility study several years ago.

Jakubec said there is potential, because of the wide-set roads, to create a marked path along roadways for walkers, in some areas. Other sections would need to have designated trails constructed, she said.

“It is something that will be looked at but it will take some time,” she said.

Mihon said she's hoping to hire a contractor to do a cost analysis before beginning to look for funding sources this year.

“We're looking for anyone who is able to help or knows of good ideas,” she said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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