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3/7/2019 5:44:00 PM
NWI Region communities submit one-fifth of requests for state's Next Level Trails grants
Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks about the Next Level Trails grant program during a Feb. 27 meeting with reporters in his Statehouse office. Staff photo by Dan Carden
+ click to enlarge
Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks about the Next Level Trails grant program during a Feb. 27 meeting with reporters in his Statehouse office. Staff photo by Dan Carden
+ click to enlarge

Dan Carden, Times of Northwest Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — Thirteen Northwest Indiana localities have submitted 16 of the 82 applications for state grants to construct or improve trails connecting communities throughout the state.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb recently revealed that requests for Next Level Trails funding have come from 42 of Indiana's 92 counties, and altogether seek nearly $144 million to develop more than 240 miles of hiking, biking and riding trails.

"The number of applications in the first round far surpassed our expectations and shows Indiana's enthusiasm for trails," Holcomb said. "This sends a big message that Hoosiers are invested in improving quality of life across the state."

The Region applicants and their projects are:

  • Lake County — Cedar Lake, Founders Creek Multi-Use Trail; Crown Point, Sportsplex Trail; Hammond, Marquette Greenway; Merrillville, C&O Trail Extension Phase III; Munster, Munster-Highland Connector; and Schererville, Pennsy Greenway Northwest Trail Phase IV.
  • Porter County — Burns Harbor, Marquette Trail Phases 3 and 4; Hebron, Veterans Memorial Parkway Trail; Portage, Marquette Trail; Portage Township, Haven Hollow Park Trail; Valparaiso, Ivy Tech Campus Connector, Ogden Prairie Trail, Vale Park Road West Link and Wheeler/State Road 2 Regional Pathway Connection Corridor.
  • LaPorte County — Michigan City, Singing Sands Trail Phase III
  • Jasper County — Rensselaer, Brookside Park to 4H Fairgrounds Trail

The governor has tasked a multi-agency committee, led by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, with reviewing, evaluating and deciding which projects to support using the $90 million available for Next Level Trails grants.

The trail grant funds originated from the $1 billion the state was paid in exchange for permitting the Indiana Toll Road operator to hike truck toll rates last year by 35 percent.

According to the governor's office, a total of $70 million in trail grants will be directed at regional trail projects, with $20 million reserved for purely local trails.

Communities awarded state trail grants also are required to contribute 20 percent of the trail cost, either through monetary contributions, land value, or donated materials and labor.

The first $25 million in state grants could be announced in April or May.

Trail projects are expected to be completed within four years. All state-funded trails must be open to the public.

Related Stories:
• Dubois County officials consider connecting communities with trails
• Northeast Indiana region, counties take the Road to One Million at own pace
• Trails planned to extend Greenfield's walkability
• Panhandle Pathway seeks to connect with France Park in Logansport
• PATH MAY FILL GAP IN TRAIL: Group applies for grant to build route near Notre Dame
• Maintaining new Hoosier trails may need tax reallocations because of demand

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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