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Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County leading new kind of economic development in the community

Don Noble, president RTWC, left; Becky Jewel, project manager and mayor of Orrville; and Dave Handwerk cut the ribbon in celebration of the first mile of the Heartland Trail in October 2014. This event was just the first step toward long-term, sustainable economic development in Orrville. The Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Wayne County Community Foundation, announced Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County as the 2018 winner for the Worthy Works Award.


A major challenge facing many rural American communities such as Orrville is strengthening and diversifying the economy. Limited opportunities and resources threaten economic vitality and a community’s quality of life. Making a place welcoming, beautiful and usable for the community while also creating an attractive setting for new business investment is a key step in development and ensuring a vibrant future for communities.
Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County is leading a new kind of economic development in the community. While some may see their work as simply building bike trails for recreation, the impact those trails will have on the economic health of the community in the future is much more significant.
The Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Wayne County Community Foundation, has announced Rails-to-Trails of Wayne County as the recipient of the 2018 Worthy Works Award.
First presented in 2008, the Worthy Works Award acknowledges and recognizes the important contributions that not-for-profit members of the Chamber of Commerce make to the community. The award includes a $1,000 grant to the organization to pursue its mission.
"We are honored to receive the Orrville Chamber's prestigious Worthy Works Award," said Don Noble II, president of the RTWC board of directors. "This recognition serves as a powerful acknowledgement, not only for the first mile of the Heartland Trail, but also for long-term benefits for all of Wayne County."
RTWC officially opened the Heartland Trail, the first ever rail-trail in Orrville, in October 2014. This first mile of the trail is the initial stretch of a paved bike trail that will eventually reach from Orrville to Clinton, where it will connect with the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail.
The long-term goal is to extend the trail south to Apple Creek and Fredericksburg, where it will connect to the Holmes County Trail.
The Heartland Trail is a significant part of a state-wide Ohio to Erie trail, which will allow people to ride or walk from the Ohio River to Lake Erie totally on trails.
“When seen as a whole, the evidence about the far-reaching benefits of the trail is compelling,” RTWC volunteer Jenni Reusser said. “The Heartland Trail will impact Orrville in multiple ways far into the future.”
As a long-term, sustainable project, the Heartland Trail will provide opportunity for easy access to a trail for health and recreation as well as provide new opportunities for retail, restaurants and visitor attraction.
The Worthy Works Award will be formally presented at the annual dinner meeting of the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce on March 27. Tickets for this event are available by calling the Orrville Area Chamber at 330-682-8881.

Published: March 8, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180309959