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Recreation opportunities

April 12, 2011
By Sam Shawver ( , The Marietta Times

Whether you're a walker, runner, skater, biker, swimmer, tennis or softball player, recreational opportunities abound in Marietta.

"We do have plenty of hiking and biking trails available-and they're all listed on our city Web site," said city recreation clerk Susan Joyce.

She said sales of season pool passes to the Marietta Aquatic Center began April 1, and summer softball leagues are forming.

Joyce said there's a possibility that a city summer basketball league, a success in years past, will be formed again this year, but that will depend on available funding.

"We're also looking at another summer playground program. As far as I know the program will continue this year, but it, too depends on funding," she said.

"The kids really love it. They get a free lunch and a chance to swim at the aquatic center," Joyce said. "And for some that's the only lunch they may get."

The city maintains tennis and basketball courts at both Indian Acres and Lookout parks. Softball fields are also available at Indian Acres, as well as the city's new skate park that will be extended later this year with the addition of a street course between the current facility and the parking lot.

Buckeye Park in the Norwood area includes basketball courts, softball fields, a fishing lake and new archery range.

Marietta's paved River Trail, which currently runs from Indian Acres Park to the Fourth and Ohio streets intersection near the Ohio River levee, gets a lot of use by both pedestrians and bicyclists.

The trail is scheduled to be extended across the city's south end and across Duck Creek, where it will intersect with Cogswell Lane near the Wal-Mart plaza, according to Kevin Crock, project manager with the city engineering department.

"Right now we're working with property owners as we'll need easements and documents signed before proceeding with construction," he said. "The current schedule is to obtain bids on that leg of the project after the first of 2012, and begin construction in the spring of that year."

Crock said a spur trail from the main River Trail is also to be constructed that will connect to the Marietta College Don Drumm Stadium area.

"The college would then complete the trail to Greene Street," he said.

In the Harmar District, Crock said a new 7-foot-wide sidewalk is currently being completed along Gilman Avenue on the Muskingum River side of the street that is also available for pedestrian exercise.

Mike Stocky, Marietta's development director, said the city's other, non-paved trails are becoming quite popular, too.

"They're great for mountain biking and hiking," he said, noting that a map showing the location of those trails is on the city Web site at

"It's quite a system," Stocky said. "Property for the trails was purchased with grant funding and the trails are built and maintained by volunteers."

Those volunteers include Ryan Smith and other members of the River Valley Mountain Bike Association.

"There are currently about 15 miles of off-road trails in Marietta for hiking and biking," he said. "We do the layout, construction and maintenance of the trails, and now we're working on connectivity, with a long-term goal of connecting trails to schools and neighborhoods."

Smith said the ultimate goal would be to provide trail access within a quarter mile of every Marietta neighborhood.

"I think there are still a lot of people who are not aware that these trails exist, but the word is spreading fast," he said. "It's a great system for bikers and hikers."



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