WOODSFIELD — The village walking trail was recently designated as the Carol Hehr Walking Trail after Woodsfield Mayor Carol Hehr for her years spent working to improve the area.
Village officials gathered at the Woodsfield Walking Trail Wednesday evening to surprise the unsuspecting mayor with the dedication. Hehr said she went to the trail expecting to take care of an alleged issue; however, she was met by numerous coworkers, police officers and friends, and a sign that read “Carol Hehr Walking Trail.”
“I was totally surprised and very honored. A lot of the time these things happen after you die,” she joked. “So I was glad I was able to enjoy it.”
According to a press release, Hehr has worked to develop the one-mile trail for the past 16 years.
The trail was completely paved this summer and new exercise equipment is currently being installed along the scenic path.
Hehr said she plans to continue to make improvements in the area. She said she intends to add restrooms, multiple benches, a gazebo and develop a picnic area, among other additions.
The trail project, which is located adjacent to Woodsfield Elementary and Monroe Central High School, began in 2005 when the village secured a $70,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources Transportation Enhancement Grant. Since then, many local businesses have helped the project by donating towards the purchase of benches, easements, preparing deeds, and excavating, Hehr said. The recently completed paving was made possible through the Community Development Block Grant the county secured in 2020, which helped to extend the trail to exceed just over a mile.
Hehr said they are still waiting to hear if they were able to secure the Nature Works Grant. The funds will help pay for a gazebo that will be placed at the beginning of the trail overlooking the Monroe County Courthouse. Funding from the same source in 2021 helped in the purchase of outdoor exercise equipment, a bench and a picnic table. Hehr said the equipment should be in place within the next couple of weeks.
Hehr said she is also hoping to further extend the trail to reach the elementary and high school to provide an outdoor education area for students. The area is currently being studied to see if this venture is possible.
“We are hoping that more people will take advantage of this beautiful scenic trail and enjoy the quiet serenity of the outdoors,” she said.
Village Administrator Kevin Brooks said it has been a 16-year journey to get the trail in the place it is now, and that is credited to the hard work and determination of Hehr.
“It’s (the trail dedication) recognizing the long term vision to finally get the trail built to where we have a tremendous community asset that everyone can be proud of and hopefully gets utilized a lot by not only people in the community but the surrounding communities, “ he said.