FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Community leaders are taking the next step in connecting parts of Allen County one trail at a time. There will be a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning for the newest addition to the Pufferbelly Trail that will span 1.25 miles from Dupont Road to Carroll Road. The current trail is just over a mile long.
Lori Rose, the executive director of the Fort Wayne Trails, said the expansion is part of a 10 year plan coming to fruition. She said there is a regional vision to extend the trail over 80 miles in Northeast Indiana going all the way from Pokagon State Park in Angola to Wabash State Park in Bluffton.
“Our vision is to have this completed within 10 years or less, so people can travel out of Allen County and into downtown,” Rose said.
It cost more than $700,000 to build the path which was funded by community donors, Legacy Fund money, and a DNR grant. Although, Rose said they still need to raise around $100,000. However, this project wasn’t always popular with community members. Some neighbors were upset at how close the trail would come to their homes, but trail engineers have worked closely with them and even allowed them to participate in the trail design in order to get the trail as far away from property lines as possible. Rose said in the warmer months there are around 15,000 people who use the trail a month, so she knows the addition will be great for the community in the long run.
“Increasing the marketability of homes, increasing property values, being an economic driver to the community,” Rose said.
Rose said this portion of the Pufferbelly Trail is expected to be completed by the Fall. She said leaders within Fort Wayne Trails have been working on projects in all quadrants of the city. They want people to eventually be able to bike into their employers with no problem.