GOSHEN — City leaders, project stakeholders and community members gathered at Goshen’s Water Tower Park Friday morning to celebrate the long-awaited completion of the 9th Street Corridor Bike and Pedestrian Trail.

During the low-key grand opening event, attendees were offered light refreshments while the project’s leadership provided a few brief comments and an overview of the work completed.

“This is a project Goshen has been working on for quite some time, and it’s another important piece to our trail system, so we’re really excited to see this project come together,” Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said in beginning the celebration Friday. “It has taken a multitude of agencies, and city departments, and people working on this to get it to where it’s at, so I appreciate everybody coming out today.”

Next to provide a few words was Leslie Biek, civil traffic engineer for the city.

“This project has been a long time coming. It was a community-developed project. It started in 2012 when the city and interested groups got together and wanted to think about how we could improve the 9th Street Corridor and make this more of a community center. And so the bike path, the multi-use path was just one part of that,” Biek said of the project. “So from 2012, we’ve been working on this project. It was a federally-funded project, so we worked with MACOG and INDOT to bring this project into reality. So thank you all for coming, and thank you to the community for being a part of it.”

Also asked to say a few words Friday was Vince Turner, a representative of the Goshen Redevelopment Commission, which helped fund the project.

“The thing that really makes me smile about this particular project is ... this is really a little bit like sitting down and planning a family dinner. Not everybody got exactly what they wanted, but it came together collaboratively enough that I think you’re going to see a lot of people who can really enjoy that,” Turner said of the project. “To me, it’s the essence of redevelopment. Having that community input, and being able to share with the redevelopment, and with the (city) council, and with the mayor and everybody else about what they would like to see, I think you can see by the finished project that this is a win, a definite win for this neighborhood and certainly for this community.”

Rounding out the event’s speakers was Julia Gautsche, longtime Goshen City Council representative for District 4, within which the 9th Street Corridor project is located.

“This neighborhood, and my district ... have been very excited about this project for many years. The multi-use path is one of the very first things they wanted in this neighborhood, and it is now complete,” Gautsche said. “Groundbreakings are great, but ribbon cuttings are even better, and we’ll be even more happy when we get the quiet zone, and that’s the other piece of this project. We’ve upgraded almost all of the railroad crossings along the corridor — one more to go. We are waiting on the Madison Street improvement, and then this neighborhood will be more quiet, and we’re all excited about that.”

At the conclusion of Friday’s event, attendees were invited to participate in a community bike ride to officially try out the newly-completed multi-use path.

THE PROJECT

Plans for redeveloping the 9th Street Corridor began picking up steam in early 2017, following receipt by the city of a $1.4 million federal grant through the Michiana Area Council of Governments to reconstruct the corridor.

Work on the project, which began in April of this year, involved constructing a new bike and pedestrian trail from College Avenue to Purl Street with the goal of improving pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow through the corridor.

According to Biek, the project involved installation of the trail beginning on the east side of 9th Street from College Avenue to Jackson Street, and then continuing on the west side from Jackson Street to Purl Street. The plan also called for minimal landscaping along the length of the corridor and improving on-street parking where needed.

Phase 1 of the project began south of Jackson Street, and ran from Jackson Street to College Avenue. Phase 2, which involved the north half of the project, ran from Purl Street to Jackson Street.

Phase 3 concluded the project with improvement work at the intersection of Jackson and Ninth streets, including the installation of a concrete tabletop intersection.

According to Biek, a tabletop intersection is essentially where the intersection is raised like a large speed hump, with the ultimate goal of improving safety for path users as they cross Ninth Street.

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