Strickland had secured $200,000 in the 2004 Appropriations Act for an intermodal railroad facility at Hobson, but that project is not expected to proceed as planned, Meigs County Commissioner Mick Davenport said.
Those plans had called for enhancing the Hobson rail station in an effort to improve services to those shipping products in and out of the county.
On Friday, Strickland announced a change in the language so the funding can be used for the multi-purpose trail proposed as part of Middleport's revitalization program.
“I am glad these federal dollars will continue to be available to Middleport,” Strickland said. “While the scope of the project has changed, it remains a good use of funding that will benefit the residents of Meigs County.”
Tim and Edie King of Middleport have spearheaded efforts to develop a multi-purpose trail along the Ohio River, to include portions of downtown Middleport and an area around Ohio 7. The two-mile trail would be promoted as a tourist attraction.
Edie King said the federal appropriation will likely be used to jump-start the planning process, including securing the necessary rights of way for construction, and to serve as matching funding for other grant sources.
“We're basically looking at a multi-use riverside trail from the corporation limit at Pomeroy to the marina, and hopefully a spur along General Hartinger Park to Ohio 7,” King said.
She said the Ohio Department of Transportation has encouraged the village to use the existing railway bed as a starting point for the trail.
She said the Middleport Development Group will likely work with an engineering firm to complete plans and cost estimates, and said such projects usually are completed in segments.
“Projects like these do take time, and this funding will allow for a good start,” King said.