City receives $1.7 million grant for riverfront project trail

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The city of Columbus has received a $1.7 million grant for part of its riverfront project.

Redevelopment Director Heather Pope briefed the redevelopment commission about the award Monday. She also noted that federal officials have said there may be a need to examine the project site in case there are historical artifacts near the river.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has awarded the city a $1,727,000 Next Level Trails grant for the riverfront project. Grant requests under this program require a minimum 20% match $345,400, in Columbus’s case. Monetary contributions, land value and in-kind donations of materials and labor are all eligible means to meet this requirement.

Pope said that the city learned in late April that it was receiving the full amount requested.

“That only pays for the actual trail itself,” she added. “It doesn’t pay for the removal of the dam, any of the fish passage area. It doesn’t pay for the removal of the landscaping and the fill that needs to be put where it’s eroded. It doesn’t pay for any of that; it’s just for the trail. But it’s still a wonderful contribution, and we couldn’t be happier with that.”

According to the DNR, the project will add 0.86 miles to the People Trail, completing a loop along the south side of Columbus.

“The new trail begins near Mill Race Park at the existing People Trail terminus next to the 3rd Street bridge,” the project description states. “From Third street, the new trail travels east along the East Fork River, eventually connecting to existing trail at Lafayette Avenue.”

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Republic.