Town Council member and former Council president Viv Sade said she was interested in putting in a trail system since being elected to the Council eight years ago. She said the Trailways provide health benefits to residents and the opportunity for kids to have a safe path to walk or bike to school.
Park Superintendent Rick Krider said the Trailways will bring a lot of areas of Churubusco into the Park because of the endless possibilities for uses of the trails–from walking to biking, rollerblading to skate boarding. With the completion of phase two, he said, residents from Blue Lake will have a much safer route to walk, cycle or skate.
Funding for phase one of the Trailways was a collaborative effort between the Whitley County Community Foundation, the Park Fund, Smith and Green Townships and the Town of Churubusco. Phase one totaled to just under $30,000 with an additional $13,800 to pave the T-ball parking lot and road to the skate park. Smith Township, through the Smith Township Board, donated $15,000 while Green Township chipped in $3200. The Park raised $12,000 through the Community Foundation, with the remaining funds coming from the Town’s rainy day fund, according to Krider.
Sade said she is looking into grants to help with the funding of phase two–hopefully a combination of federal, state and local grants.
Krider, Sade and Town Supervisor Jeremy Hart drafted a route for the Trailways by staking out the most practical path with the least amount of traffic.
The completion of the first phase provides an eight-foot-wide asphalt trail that winds through the Churubusco Community Park and connects to Thresher Ridge housing addition. The scenic path runs beside the 15-acre woods and wetlands recently purchased by the Park and also grants access to a trail through the Park woods. Resting benches will eventually be in place along the trail.
The second phase of the Trailways project will continue as the asphalt trail makes way to the concrete sidewalks already in place in Thresher Ridge. The official phase two path continues down the sidewalks of Thresher Run and Wheatfield Lane and outlets at 550 N. The trail will then return to asphalt as it makes its way toward the Blue Lake Community Building. Sade hopes phase two will be complete by 2011.
The path for phase three isn’t set in stone, but may either go out to the South of Town towards the Commerce Center (by Farmers and Merchants Bank) or connect with phase two, continuing one-half mile on Blue Lake Road before turning to the left onto 450 N and then right onto 800 E. for one-half mile. Finally the trail will continue for another half mile onto Anderson Road before reaching Town limits once again. The trail will then proceed down Whitley Street towards the school and turn left onto Eagle Drive to join a path which will connect the middle school to the Park in conjunction with Smith-Green Community Schools. The entire Trailways system will be about five miles in length and should be complete in the next two to five years, Krider said.