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The Vision for Wilmington’s Trails


Bruce Saunders
Bruce Saunders

The Clinton County Trails Coalition (CCTC) started 1990, but for the first 10-years didn’t have a trail. “We had to educate people in Wilmington what it would be like to be on a bike trail,” said Bruce Saunders, one of the CCTC’s founding members. “We said, ‘go to Loveland and Xenia. See what they look like’.”


In the beginning, the plan was to build the first trail from Nelson to Ogden because, “it just goes by the dump, there’s nobody there”, said Bruce. “The City owned the first mile and the Roberts family owned the rest.”


However, according to Bruce, Larry Roberts Sr. said, “No way... I will never give it to you and my children will never give it to you.” Ironically, Larry’s children eventually did give the land, but at the time the CCTC had to change course.


The land between Mulberry and Nelson became available and the City got involved to help connect Clinton Memorial Hospital. “We call it ‘picking the low hanging fruit first’”, said Bruce. “So if you see our development through town, and see a 7.5-mile trail out in Sabina not connected to Wilmington, we intend to connect it, we just haven’t been able to get the land together yet. But over time, we will.”


CCTC’s number one job is to advocate for trails, the second is to build trails—and while they cannot physically build trails, they can raise donations and apply for grants to build trails. Then, when they get money, they can go to organizations like the City or County that can receive money, hire contractors, and build trails. Finally, when the project is done, the City or County owns and maintains the trails.


The vision for Wilmington’s trails is to make a full circle around town and connect to other cities like Morrow. Bruce hopes the Lowes Drive trail could continue along the flood plain to the houses being built at the old drive-in, and that land could be acquired along the railroad track from Lowes Drive to connect Sabina’s trail and then out to Washington Courthouse.

Bruce shares more about his journey with CCTC on episode 43 of our podcast at realchangewilmington.com/podcast.


For those who have never explored the trails, Bruce says the best place to start is by visiting Wheelies bike shop at 171 S Mulberry Street located on the Luther E Warren Peace Path. Learn more at clintoncountytrails.org.

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