Trail of Madison
Ind., consultant predicts
positive economic impact from trails
critical to Heritage Trail success
(January 2010) A pedestrian and bicycle trail,
such as the Heritage Trail of Madison, can provide new economic development
opportunities for a community, according to a state expert in trail
by Don Ward
Carter, executive director of
the Greenways Foundation of Indiana,
speaks with Cathy Hale, executive
director of the Madison Railroad,
following Carters speech to a group
of Madison citizens Dec. 2 at
The Livery Stable.
Many Indiana communities are dying, said Ron
Carter, executive director of the Greenways Foundation of Indiana. Tourism
is a way to bring business back. Linear parks, or trails are a way to
Carter spoke Dec. 2 at a luncheon in Madison about the positive economic
impact trails bring to communities. The Greenways Foundation is a charitable
trust working to promote the growth, enhancement and use of Indiana
greenways, or multi-use trails.
Madison city officials will meet soon to select a design consultant
to complete the riverfront portion of The Heritage Trail of Madison,
which began 14 years ago by a group of volunteers. Six design companies
have submitted bids to complete the trail.
Selecting the appropriate designer is crucial to the project,
said Heritage Trail President Bob Greene. We have to make sure
we get the right one for a project as important as this could be to
the economy of Madison.
Greene is on the selection committee that will review the bids and score
them and make the final decision. The committee is made up of three
city officials and two Heritage Trail volunteers.
Carter, who was invited to Madison by Greene to speak, described how
various trails he has worked on, including the Monan Trail in his hometown
of Carmel, have increased tourism.
Indiana has realized the economic opportunity trails provide and
have put into their master plan to have 2,200 trail miles throughout
the state by 2016, he said. Gov. Daniels wants every Hoosier
to be within a 71/2 minute drive of a trail or greenway.
Madisons tourism is thriving, he said. With
very little expenditure and a lot of volunteerism, tourism could increase
He also said it is the quality of life that brings people to communities,
and trails increase the quality of life by improving the environment,
improving health and providing more recreational opportunities.
Already, a small, 3/4-mile section of the hilltop section, which runs
from the Madison State Hospital to Crooked Creek, is paved and being
used by walkers and cyclists. A temporary wooden bridge has been constructed
over the Madison Railroads Crooked Creek Bridge that allows hikers
to cross over crooked creek.
The lower portion of the trail begins where the Madison River Walk ends
at Vernon Street and winds up meeting with the paved portion at Crooked
Creek. The lower part of the trail has had several problems that have
delayed its construction, including right-of-way issues.
In 2002, a group of volunteers that included Madison residents Karen
Bump, Tom Pritchard, Jim Olson and Julie Rubio, developed the Heritage
Trail Inc. It operates as a nonprofit organization under the umbrella
of the Historic Hoosier Hills. The group had conceived an idea for a
non-motorized trail that would connect downtown Madison to the hilltop.
Once completed, the trail would be added to the list of thousands of
similar trails across the nations that are being built to enhance economic
opportunities in those communities. The group applied for and received
approval for a $1 million Transportation Enhance-ment grant.
Over the course of the next few years, the group hired Indianapolis-based
Ratio Architects Inc. to complete an environmental and design study.
Throughout its 14-year history, the project has seen many delays due
to design and property rights issues, lack of funding and a lack of
Last year, the City of Madison diverted $500,000 of the grant money,
with Indiana Department of Transportation approval, to finish the river
We were glad the money was used to assist another important project,
said Greene. We are hoping, however, to write more grants and
get that funding back.
Jenny Eggenspiller, special projects coordinator for the city, said
the city is moving forward with the design frame of the project and
hopes to begin construction as soon as all the details can be worked
out. She said the remaining funds for the Heritage Trail may not
be enough to cover actual construction from Vernon Street to across
Crooked Creek, but we will stretch those dollars as far as possible.
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