New Bike Path Connects Points A and B

   Connectibility, safety and community cooperation joined hands as the Lions Way Augsburger Road Pathway opened last week. Here’s what was accomplished at the Oct. 31 ribbon cutting and dedication: Distance shortened from Point A to Point B.
   Point A being Maple Crest, Willow Ridge, Riverbend, Augsburger Road residents and the Bluffton University Nature Preserve; Point B being Bluffton proper.
   Safety issues disappeared. Young and old walkers, joggers, bikers, seniors in motorized wheelchairs, and, yes, vehicle drivers, no longer compete for space along Augsburger.
   Community cooperation in place. The Bluffton Pathway Board was not alone in making the path a reality. Many local groups, individuals, businesses, industries, county and state groups came together making the pathway a reality. It would not have happened otherwise.
Emphasizing these three points were ribbon-cutting speakers.
   Dr. James Harder, Bluffton University president, noted the collaborative spirit and strength of community involvement working together wonderfully making the project a reality.
   Greg Denecker, Bluffton school superintendent, pointed to the safety factor the path brings to Riverbend Development youth who up-to-now relied on Augsburger Road to travel back and forth from school to their homes.
   Debbie Mohr of the Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio staff, said the path “enhances our small but mighty town.” In the two weeks prior to the ribbon cutting, she witnessed parents with baby carriages, students on roller blades, bikers and Maple Crest elders on motorized wheelchairs using the path.
   Judy Augsburger, Bluffton mayor said that the pathway goes a long way to promote Bluffton. On a historic note, she gave credit to her husband’s great-great-grandfather Henry Augsburger. “He petitioned the township to gravel the road in the 1800s. The success of his petition gave the road its name,” she said.
   Also speaking at the dedication was Rev. Jeremy Mann, pastor of Emmanuel United Church of Christ, representing the Bluffton Area Ministerial Association. He provided an invocation.
   Dick Ramseyer, chair of the pathway board and president of the Lions Foundation, was the master of ceremonies.
   A recognition sign was erected along the path to identify the donors and leaders who provided the financial resources, vision and dedication to the project.
   The Lions Foundation Augsburger Pathway is a project of the Bluffton Bike and Pedestrian Pathway Board. Bluffton’s council established the board to construct a pathway system in the community identified in a Comprehensive Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, developed several years ago.
   The board works in cooperation with the Bluffton Lions Club Foundation that is actively involved in securing financial resources to construct the pathway system.
   Previous to the Augsburger path, the Pathway Board successfully completed The Lions Way path. It connects Bluffton proper to the Interstate 75 business sector.
   The Board also constructed the Lions Way Trail Park at the Comfort Inn area of the Lions Way path.
   The best news – there’s more to come.
   The Pathway board’s focus is now to connect the Augsburger pathway from Bentley Road to the Parkview subdivision, ending at the Bluffton Dari Freeze on South Main Street.
   The board’s long-term purpose is to encircle the village with a pedestrian and bike path as defined by the Comprehensive Bike and Pedestrian Pathway Master Plan.
   Members of the pathway board include Richard Ramseyer, Laura Voth, Dr. James Harder, Dima Snyder, Greg Denecker, John Rich, Mitch Kingsley, Fred Steiner and village liaisons Jamie Mehaffie and Joe Sehlhorst.
   Members of the foundation board include Lions Dick Ramseyer, Dick McGarrity, Barbara Plaugher, Lowell Hostetler, Greg Denecker, Mitch Kingsley, Judy Augburger, Ed Yeager and Colleen Lazar.