The Village of Elmore will get a $75,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) to improve its paddling adventures on the Portage River this year.
With the Ottawa County waterway being developed as the Portage River Water Trail, the grant will be used to develop a new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible canoe and kayak launch and improved loading and unloading area at Harry Witty Park.
The Portage River facility will be one of seven public access improvement projects to receive a total of $492,920 this year through the Paddling Enhancement Grant, according to the ODNR. The primary goal of the Paddling Enhancement Grant is to increase access and opportunities for hand-powered watercraft.
“Paddle sports continue to drive the sky-high participation in water recreation,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “We’re proud to support our local economies and provide Ohioans with quality opportunities for recreation on the water. Just remember to wear a life jacket!”
This is the third grant phase since it was established in 2020. The grant is capped at $75,000 per project and the division budgeted $500,000. This spring, the Division of Parks and Watercraft received 39 applications requesting $2.34 million for projects totaling $3.9 million on 31 different Ohio waterways.
Individual grant awards range from $44,000 to $75,000. The Paddling Enhancement grants are funded by Ohio’s recreational boaters through the Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of a share of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Elmore project was the only one receiving one of the Paddling Enhancement Grant this year in Northwest Ohio, with most awarded to communities on southern Ohio rivers and lakes.
I kayak this area often. God luck launching at Harry Witty Park. The area is bed rock and generally doesn’t have enough water to float anything. A better place would be Riverbend Park at the East end of town.