Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), the second largest producer of natural gas in the United States donated $11,200 for the development of the Ohio & Erie Canal Townpath Trail, a long-awaited project on the Stark-Tuscarawas county line, according to the report from


According to Bob Fonte, director of Stark County Park District, the county started the development of the trail in 1996 and they started designing the aqueduct project in the past four years. In addition, he said that the construction of the projected was delayed because of many issue.

“It has taken a long time. There have been a lot of issues,but we’re excited that it’s finally happening,” he said.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) contribution to the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition will be helpful in funding the project. The replacement for the old aqueduct costs around $900,000. The old aqueduct carried the canal over the Tuscarawas River on the Townpath that stretches from Cleveland through Akron towards New Philadelphia. The pedestrian bridge is a very important part of the popular trail.

The Stark County District will be in-charge in the design and construction of the new bridge, which will be 160 feet long and 14 feet wide, according to Fonte. He expects that the construction of the project will be completed in 2014.

Fonte added that the county will announce the bidding process for the project in March and is expected to be awarded to the successful bidder in April. The selected contractor has 18 months to build the bridge, but he said the project might be finished prior to the deadline.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency already approved the request of the Stark County for the construction of the bridge.

Representative Ralph Regula helped arrange the approval for the release of the $760,000 excess funds from a previous grant in order to fund the construction of bridge. Both Stark County and Tuscarawas County raised $70,000 to provide additional funding for the project.

According to Fonte, approximately $35,000 of Stark County’s fund came from donations from private foundations. He said the rest of the money will be levy-raised park district funds.

Dan Rice, president and CEO of the Canalway group said the contribution from Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) provides a safety net for the project in cased of additional expenses. According to him, it is the first time the energy company has contributed to the construction of the Townpath Trail.