A Columbus East High School senior wants to light the path for those walking along Columbus’ People Trails through a partnership with the Columbus Park Foundation.

Lizzy Frazier has proposed installing lights along portions of the 27-mile trail system as part of her senior project.

Frazier, 17, came up with the idea for the need for lights along the trails this summer after riding her bike in the early morning hours from her home in Tipton Lakes to work as a lifeguard at the Donner Center.

Adding lighting and reflective strips along the trail could improve safety for walkers and bike riders, she said.

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The effort is a costly one — estimated at $1 million, Frazier said.

She is already leading efforts to raise money, including setting up a GoFundMe page online. She also organized a 5K run/walk fundraiser event called Light that Night on Nov. 4 in Mill Race Park that brought in $500.

She has been able to secure more than $1,400 so far that includes $600 in donations that were received before the Nov. 4 event.

In addition to the lighting, Frazier also would like emergency phones to be added to the trail system.

“Although the city advocates for healthy lifestyles and boasts an impressive People Trail system, all 27 miles of trails are unlit,” Frazier said. “To the average recreational user, this is insignificant, but for those dependent on the trails for transportation, the hazards of the dark are widespread.”

The project already has received support from Chip Orben, who serves as board president of the Columbus Park Foundation and is a company spokesman for Duke Energy.

Frazier plans to make a formal presentation to the foundation board at its 4 p.m. Dec. 11 meeting at the Donner Center.

“We will certainly identify these areas with her help and the community’s help and it’s important we provide a safe environment for people to walk,” Orben said. “If people feel like it’s a safe environment, they’ll get out and take advantage of that.”

Jeff Baker, also a park foundation board member, said the senior’s goal to install lights is a worthy one. He is looking forward to hearing more details from Frazier, he said.

“It’s certainly an interesting prospect and as a community, we’re fortunate to have a strong parks and recreation department as we have,” Baker said.

Frazier said while she doesn’t expect to see the project completed by the end of her senior year, she hopes community awareness will allow her efforts to continue once she graduates. It is also an effort on her part to make a difference in Columbus, she said.

“I’ve really come to appreciate what you can do on the People Trail with the fact I can bike all the way to work and home and I really want to see more people appreciate (the trail),” Frazier said.

How to donate

Donations to the People Trail project can be made by mailing a check to the Columbus Park Foundation, 739 22nd St., Columbus, with “People Trail Lights” written in the memo line.

Money can also be donated through a GoFundMe page that has been established at www.gofundme.com/the-people-trail-project. For more information, contact Lizzy Frazier at 18fraziere@students.bcsc.k12.in.us or call 812-344-7113.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com