FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The number of people using the trails in Fort Wayne is up and the city wants to keep that trend going. Fort Wayne Trails took the first step Tuesday in asking for Regional Cities Funding.
The director of Fort Wayne Trails says Tuesday was a huge day for the city. The Regional Development Authority Board heard a presentation today from Fort Wayne Trails asking for a $1.7 million grant.
The trail system in Fort Wayne and Allen County started with the River Greenway back in 1975. Now, there are 96 miles of trails. Kent Castleman, the director of Fort Wayne Trails, says through a strong partnership with the city, they want more trails built.
“Trails are really a big part of an active lifestyle these days and people are wanting to get back to kind of the way it used to be where we walk to more destinations, bike to more destinations,” he said.
Together they asked the Regional Development Authority Board for the grant. It will go toward a $9.5 million project plan for Pocha Bache Connector, the new name for the Indiana Visionary Trail.
81 miles connect all the way from Pokagon State Park in Angola down to Wabash State Park in Bluffton. Almost 8 miles of the trail are in Allen County.
“This is arguably the most important stretch of trail that has ever been built in Fort Wayne and in the city. It will stretch from Fernhill up by Glenbrook Mall all the way down to Headwaters Park,” Castleman said.
It connects to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, schools and a handful of other locations – adding to the success of the trail system.
“Our trail system is actually a fantastic world class trail system. To be able to add to that is an amazing opportunity,” Michael Galbraith, director of Road to One Million, said.
It’s keeping people on the trails and connecting the city.
“When we look at Fort Wayne it’s really time to get back to some of the active transportation lifestyle and we want to build our trails up to support that alternative transportation,” Castleman said.
22 miles of this trail are already complete. If they get the grant, Fort Wayne Trails hopes to start work on that stretch in the spring with a completion date of mid 2018.