GREENSBURG – A discussion focusing on adding another trail in Greensburg was held during the August Greensburg Redevelopment Commission meeting.

City Engineer Ron May recently discussed at Redevelopment Commission looking at a trail that would extend from the end of the east side trail at the Decatur County Community Schools administration offices, continuing to Freeland Road and eventually to the intersection of Lincoln Street and the Ind. 3 bypass.

It should be noted this all preliminary, and nothing is set in stone or official.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Next Level Trails program “will invest $90 million – the largest infusion of state rail funding in Indiana history – toward the development of regionally and locally significant trails throughout Indiana.”

The initiative is part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s broader Next Level Connections infrastructure program.

The Indiana DNR also says “Next Level Trails is designed to incentivize collaborative efforts to accelerate trail connections.”

“One of the things that does is connect two of our existing trails, and that’s one of the things this Next Level Trail thing talked about as being desirable, because this would be local and not a regional trail,” May said.

May said the trail discussed is a little more than three quarters of a mile, could deal with more than 20 properties, depending on which side of the street it would be on.

May said he asked himself, “What if?”

“I’m saying $1.5 million could maybe pay for all of it, including project development, right of way acquisition, and maybe some of the right of way could be donated or not, and you could soft match this money,” May said.

According to May, the state says it’s a minimum of a 20 percent local contribution, but they also indicated money is very competitive and many communities offer more, which makes their application more attractive.

“So, if you say 25 percent just for the heck of it, the local share, if these numbers are any good, is $380,000, and the rest would come from the state,” May said.

There three total rounds of grant awards as part of the Next Level Trails grant process. May said there is $5 million statewide available for local trails.

As part of the application process, May said they would like to see a complete plan and right of way either acquired or commitments from property owners.

The application period is set for October.

“The application opening period is six weeks from where we are, or 10 weeks from the closing time,” May said. “That would be probably challenging to get this stuff together.”

May said if they want to apply next year, they should probably begin preparing now.

The city engineer said he envisions hiring a consultant to the do the design work, and if they do want to apply next year, the city should be soliciting letters of interest from consultants.

This is an ongoing story. The Daily News will provide more information as it becomes available.

Contact: Joshua Heath, 812-663-3111 x217401; joshua.heath@greensburgdailynews.com.

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