Happy Trails in Richmond

It’s a good day in Richmond for those who continue the work to build hiking and biking trails in the community.
Richmond Mayor Dave Snow today announced that the city has received a $250,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to help with the creation of a new trail leg on the city’s north side.
The grant, which comes from the FHA’s Recreational Trail Program and comes to the city through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is a big deal because it’s the start of the effort to build the trail east to the Ohio line.
The money will be used to pave a 10-foot-wide trail from North 12th Street to North 24th along the East Fork of the Whitewater River. The trail is to be called the National Road Heritage Trail.
The grant is the result of an unique partnership between the city and Richmond’s Society for the Preservation and Use of Resources (SPUR).
You remember the SPUR folks. They are the ones who, in the 1960s, acquired the land along the Whitewater River, from Test Road north, that 30 years later became the Whitewater Gorge Trail.
For full disclosure purposes, I am a member of the SPUR board of directors.
SPUR board members will continue the effort to take the trail east to Ohio, west to a hookup with the Cardinal Greenway Trail and (hopefully someday) north to the Indiana University East, Ivy Tech and Reid Hospital campus.
The grant requires a 20 percent local match, which will come from a $50,000 donation of land and material from SPUR.
The city has also pledged to make $14,250 worth of improvements as part of the project.
Snow said the proposed project is the first phase of a multi-year effort to extend the National Road Heritage Trail across eastern Wayne County.
SPUR board members first met Sept. 26, 1966. They acquired the northside land between 1990 and 2004.
SPUR’s stated goal is preserving natural areas, soil conservation, beautification, promoting recycling and recreation and educating the leaders of tomorrow on important conservation legislation.
SPUR board president Joe Hellrung said the grant comes at a perfect time.
“This is truly exciting news,” Hellrung said. “This being our 50th year, it’s just such a great coincidence that we are able to get this grant.”
SPUR worked with former Mayor Sally Hutton and city staff for two years on the project, submitting the application April 30, 2015.
“Sally went to bat for us several times and really came through,” Hellrung said. “This is the first step to get us to the next steps of getting a trail to Hayes Arboretum, Glen Miller Park and beyond.”
Richmond City Planner Sarah Mitchell said the announcement fits in well with the city’s plan to be a destination for entrepreneurs and young professionals, and to coincide with its development of a bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
“We are expanding the trail system that will eventually travel through Richmond and across the county, and someday across the state,” Mitchell said.
Snow said one of the city’s biggest accomplishments in this time of economic downturn is to continue to promote the improvement of bicycle and pedestrian amenities.
“The proposed project is to be the first phase of a multi-year effort to extend the National Road Heritage Trail across eastern Wayne County,” Snow said.

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7 thoughts on “Happy Trails in Richmond”

  1. Great news. The area could use a bike/ped bridge in the area as well as an alternative to the 27 bridge. A map of that bridge and potential connecting trails is here:

    Freeman Park - Oak Drive connector, Richmond Bike Map overlay

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    1. Hi Greg. We are still working with the city of Richmond, INDOT and DNR to make this trail happen. Right now the city has hired an engineering firm to design the thing and do the rest of preliminary work. Hopefully we will be able to do the paving next year. Thanks for your interest.

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