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New plan revealed for Towpath Trail in Cleveland
Routing avoids former uranium enrichment facility

Jasen Sokol

The builders of the Towpath Trail are hoping their ninth plan to get around an old uranium processing plant south of Steelyard Commons is the one that will work. 

Previous plans had the trail passing close to the site of the Harshaw chemical plant, which enriched uranium in the 1940s and 50s for the Manhattan Project. But the Army Corps of Engineers found the land that would have been used has radioactive residue.

The new plan takes the trail under the Harvard-Denison Bridge before connecting with existing trails at both ends.

The trail will extend from Cleveland to New Philadelphia when it’s done. But Ohio and Erie Canalway co-Executive Director Tim Donovan says routing the trail through industrial portions of Cleveland is difficult.

Donovan on the challenges of building the Towpath Trail

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“This is going to be the toughest one mile of trail perhaps ever built in America because of all of the extenuating circumstances,” he said. “From the Harshaw plant to the railroad crossings we have to navigate to the industry that’s very closely knit down there, there’s very little passageways to find.”

Construction of the Harvard leg is awaiting environmental tests on the land and is expected to be complete by 2016.

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