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June 16, 2019

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A "much safer" Bentley Road opens with new pedestrian pathway

It's one more piece of a vision to encircle the village with a pathway

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Bluffton’s Lions Way Bentley Road Pathway had it christening on Tuesday. The celebration recognized the .9 mile extension of the pathway project, now it its ninth year.

The event recognizes the pathway extension from Augsburger-Elm south along Bentley Road to the bridge near Kibler Street.

Prior to the Bentley pathway's existence, this heavily foot-trafficked road had no sidewalk or designation for non-vehicular traffic.

Richard Ramseyer, pathway chair, introduced several persons at the dedication ceremony who made comments about the path.

Ramseyer noted that the pathway is one element that helps makes Bluffton a destination for visitors especially as interest in biking increases.

Others speaker were Gerald Wehri, resident on Bentley, who said, “The pathway (at his property) is not a burden or limitation, but something that builds our community.”

Dr. James Harder, newly retired Bluffton University president and past pathway board member, said that the entire project shows the grassroots strength of community initative. “It increases the quality of life and is a sign of civic health in Bluffton,” he added.

Dr. Jane Wood, current Bluffton University president, received the “torch” passed from Dr. Harder as the board’s newest member. She said that the university looks forward to assisting in the pathway program.

Bluffton Mayor Richard Johnson noted that the $167,538 project cost was shared in equal thirds by the village, pathway board and Bluffton Lions Foundation. He said this sharing represents the village’s cooperation in this project.

Pathway vision
The pathway vision is to create a functional and safe bike and pedestrian pathway connecting Bluffton to Lions Way Augsburger Path, Lions Way Bentley Road and Lions Way Parkview Path on the west side of Bluffton to Lions Way Trail Head Park and Lions Way Path to State Route 103 business district on the east side of town.

The extended vision supports a Class III bike tour on the rural roads surrounding Bluffton that will help resurrect Allen County’s Bike Route system and will provide a link to the Hancock County Bike Tour System.

Members of the Bluffton Pathway Board are Richard Ramseyer, chair; Laura Voth, secretary; Greg Denecker, Mitch Kingsley, John Rich, Dima Snyder, Fred Steiner and Dr. Jane Wood.

Village liaisons are Jesse Blackburn, village administrator, with Ben Stahl and Joe Sehlhorst, council members.

Bluffton Lions Foundation Board members are Richard Ramseyer, president; Richard McGarrity, vice president; Barbara Plaugher, secretary; Lowell Hostetler, treasurer; and directors Greg Denecker, Mitch Kingsley, Ryan Lowry, Ed Yeager and Dr. Christina Walton, club president.

Bluffton council members are Jerry Cupples, president; Mitch Kingsley, Joe Sehlhorst, Ben Stahl, Dave Steiner and Phill Talavinia.