Foundation to fund new stretch of trails

Columbus Park Foundation has made a donation to fund the development of a new stretch of the citywide People Trails.

Columbus Park Board members unanimously accepted a $150,000 donation from the foundation Thursday.

The money has been earmarked for use on preliminary work or construction to expand the existing Clifty Creek trail, said April Williams, foundation project and resource development director.

The existing trail currently makes a loop around Clifty Creek park on the city’s southeast side, and the expansion would extend that existing trail north along a 1,400-foot asphalt, multi-use path, Williams said.

Then the expansion would continue west with the addition of 1,760 feet of concrete side path, connecting residents to side paths on Marr Road and 10th Streets, she said. The expansion would allow pedestrians and cyclists to access the city’s far east side.

In total, the expansion will add a little more than 3,100 feet to the city’s trail system, Williams said.

The total cost of the Clifty Creek trail expansion is about $210,000, Williams said. The project could be completed by the second quarter of 2017.

The money to fund the Clifty Creek expansion comes from a Recreational Trail Grant awarded to the foundation by the Department of Natural Resources, Williams said.

The grant is an 80 percent to 20 percent match, with the Department of Natural Resources agreeing to fund 80 percent of the cost up to a maximum of $150,000.

The foundation has already met its obligation to cover 20 percent of the cost, Williams said. Those costs were incurred when Christoper B. Burke Engineering completed preliminary work that was required before the expansion can actually begin.

Kerry Daly, a senior engineering technician with the engineering company, told board members that much of that work was getting the proper approval and permits for the expansion to begin.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is reviewing the proposed project, Daly said. Once the city receives INDOT’s initial approval, it can begin advertising the project and conducting any necessary public hearings.

Because the foundation met its 20 percent obligation, the state Department of Natural Resources will reimburse the city for the full $150,000 once the expansion is complete, Williams said.

However, the DNR grant agreement is with the city parks department, not the foundation, Williams said. That’s why she asked board members to approve the transfer of the grant from the foundation to the parks’ nonreverting fund. Once the trail construction is complete, the Department of Natural Resources will reimburse the parks department directly.

Additionally, Williams asked the board to earmark any excess funds from the donation for use on any of the other People Trail expansion projects. The board also approved that request unanimously.

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The Columbus People Trails projects includes multi-use paths, side paths, sidewalks and bicycle paths for use by pedestrians and cyclists across the city. The Park Foundation identified 18 trail expansion projects in 2011.

The current expansion focuses on the Clifty Creek trail. About 1,400 feet of asphalt multi-use trails will be added to the existing trail. Additionally, 1,760 feet of concrete side paths will be constructed to connect to existing side paths on Marr Road and 10th Street, allowing trail users to reach the city’s east side.

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The official mission of the Columbus Park Foundation is to aid the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department in acquiring and developing land for local park and recreation activities, to secure long-term financial support for parks and recreation and to promote community engagement.

The foundation has four main values:

  • Quality of life
  • Healthy lifestyles
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Building community and economic growth

For more information, contact the Park Foundation at 812-376-2680 or at