At Athens City Council’s meeting Tuesday, members will discuss allowing the mayor to submit an application for a grant that would fund the Columbus Road Bike Path Spur Trailhead. 

The Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant is through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and is given for the purpose of developing new trails and trailhead facilities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ website

The City of Athens would use the grant to restore an old gas station on Columbus Road into a trailhead. 

“The new bridge across the river would lead up to the gas station naturally,” Athens City Council President Chris Knisely said. “We would use the (grant) to begin to convert the gas station into a place where people can park when they come to use the bike path.”

Athens City Council will also be discussing an ordinance that would allow an opt-out Retail Solar Community Program in the City of Athens to go on the ballot for the May 8 election. 

The program is through the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council, and would charge a $1-2 carbon tax through an opt-out electric aggregation program to encourage consumers to use less electricity. 

The money collected from the carbon tax would create a solar development fund to help pay for solar power projects on public buildings in Athens. 

The program is the first step by the City of Athens to achieving goals established by the Energy Action Plan for the City of Athens, a component of the Athens City Sustainability Plan.

Additionally, Athens City Council members will discuss amending the Cannabis Laws and Penalties in Athens City Code Title 9. 

In its current state, the code lists cannabis as a hallucinogenic. The projected amendment to the code will remove cannabis from the list of hallucinogens and remove text declaring all parts of the plant are illegal, Knisely said. 

“We will discuss changing code to reflect that the city voted in favor of (The Athens Cannabis Ordinance),” Knisely said. “It lists the code to say that it was voted in, and it would be codified.”

Due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Athens City Council will be meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.


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