GREENFIELD — The city hopes to secure about $1.7 million in grant funding to build more than 2 miles of trails over the next few years, expanding the connectivity of Greenfield parks and pathways.
Greenfield officials recently applied for two grants through the state’s Next Level Trails program. They plan to extend the future Brandywine Greenway — a mile-long connector between Brandywine Park and the Pennsy Trail — through Riley Park and the Hancock County Fairgrounds as well as build three trail segments along Franklin Street and New Road that connect to existing trails, said Jason Koch, city engineer.
The state will cover 80 percent of trail project cost, while the remaining 20 percent is a local match.
Gov. Eric Holcomb in December announced the launch of Next Level Trails, giving municipalities and nonprofits from Jan. 1 to Feb. 15 to apply for the first round of the grant program. The state, via the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is dedicating $90 million for trails — split into $70 million for regional projects and $20 million for local projects. It’s the state’s largest pot of money for trails in history.
“By linking communities, we will make a serious investment in connectivity and quality of life,” Holcomb said in a press release. “Next Level Trails’ strong focus on partnerships will drive collaboration among neighboring cities, towns and counties, as well as fill gaps among existing trails to create a larger network for more Hoosiers to enjoy the great outdoors.
Phase two of the Brandywine Greenway will start at the Pennsy Trail and travel north along Brandywine Creek, potentially going under the Main Street bridge, and then it will zigzag through Riley Park and the fairgrounds, ending at Park Avenue, Koch said. The 0.7-mile asphalt trail will include an ADA-accessible ramp from the Pennsy to a lowland area near Brandywine Creek and a 14-foot-wide pedestrian bridge over the creek in Riley Park.
The $1.2 million project will also incorporate a 0.5-mile sidewalk along the south side of Park Avenue between Swope and Apple streets, Koch said, to connect nearby neighborhoods to the new trail.
Greenfield also applied last November for a grant to fund the second phase of the trail project through the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization, Koch said, diversifying the grant opportunities.
“We’re throwing our effort at all of these possible sources and seeing what’ll stick,” Koch said.
Last year, the city received grant funding for the first half of the Brandywine Greenway from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Koch said. The trail will travel through Brandywine Park from Davis Road to the Pennsy Trail, crossing both Brandywine Creek and Potts Ditch. It will be built in 2020.
The other Next Level Trails grant proposal is for the Franklin Street Trail Extension. It’s a 1.4-mile stretch divided among three segments on Franklin Street and New Road, Koch said. It will hook up to existing trails and connect three Greenfield parks, two schools, neighborhoods and other areas.
Two smaller segments of the trail would connect to current paths along Franklin Street near Greenfield Central Junior High School and on New Road next to Hancock Wellness Center, Koch said. A third segment would stretch from the roundabout of New Road and Franklin Street and head north on the bridge over Interstate 70 and hook up to Beckenholdt Park, just south of County Road 300 North.
Once completed, the trail will link Beckenholdt Park to the wellness center; the junior high; Greenfield Baseball Park and the future inclusive park next to the junior high; Hancock County Public Library; Mary Moore Park; and Greenfield-Central High School, as well as neighborhoods and business parks, Koch said.
The project will cost about $950,000. If the city isn’t awarded a Next Level Trails grant for the Franklin Street trail, Koch said officials will pursue other options through the Stellar Communities grant program.
The city plans to later extend the Franklin Street trail down to the Pennsy Trail and bring the Brandywine Trail up to Henry B. Wilson Park near Greenfield’s hotel district on the north side, Koch said.
“The goal is to get that recreation alternative transportation use spread out to everybody,” Koch said. “I think it’s a great asset to lure industry and try to lure retailers to come to down for that quality of life. Everywhere you look, big cities that are doing well are doing this.”