grant will enhance
Heritage Trail, train incline
upgrades will improve
hiking, cycling on the trail, officials say
MADISON, Ind. (September 2011) When Erin Kindle
of Dupont, Ind., and Tina Gourley of Madison, Ind., were enrolled in
an Indiana University bachelors degree program at Ivy Tech Community
College, they would sometimes take study breaks by hiking the Heritage
Trail of Madison.
Now they return to the trail for recreation and improving their fitness.
Its a nice little scenic trail, said Kindle, 29. Its
away from everything else but youre passing people all the time
so you feel safe.
I feel like its a good workout, said her friend, Gourley,
35. By the time you get to the top youre ready to start
back down hill again!
Mark Turner, a former Madison resident who now lives in Carmel, Ind.,
said the Heritage Trail compares favorably to the much longer Monon
Trail that runs through his neighborhood. The Heritage Trails
a lot steeper than what I thought it would be, said Turner, 41.
When I walked it the first time, I kept thinking it would level
off, but it never did.
He added, I like the scenery, and its a great way to see
Kindle, Gourley and Turner are among hundreds who hike Madisons
Heritage Trail each year. If theyve been observant, theyve
noticed some changes in recent years. Many more are coming in the next
year, as the result of two federal grants announced this summer.
Idea for trail conceived as a result of the Total Quality
of Life Initiative.
1996 Plans announced for a pedestrian and bicycling
trail connecting Madisons hilltop and downtown. The name
Heritage Trail is selected in a name-the-trail contest.
Madison Trail Committee gets $1,000 from Historic Madison and
$5,000 from the Community Foundation.
1997 Sunday afternoon walks and National Trails
Day activities acquaint community with the proposed trail route.
Riverfront Development Committee endorses effort to tie the trail
to its Vaughn Drive project.
1998 Heritage Trail is one of 42 projects nationwide
to get a $1,000 grant from the Conservation Fund. Community Foundation
gives $3,500 in unrestricted funding and $500 from the Jones endowment.
1999 At urging of State Rep. Markt Lytle, Indiana
General Assembly allocates $435,000 for the trail. The states
Build Indiana fund contributes another $45,000. Engineering for
12- to 14-foot wide trail begins.
2000 Indiana Department of Natural Resources grants
2001 Wingham Construction is awarded contract to
grade first section of trail, from Crooked Creek to the quarry.
2002 First section of trail is paved. Grand opening
of first section is held on Sept. 21. Heritage Trail Inc. is incorporated,
with officers Tom Pritchard, president; Karen Bump, vice president;
Jim Olson, treasurer; and Julie Rubio, secretary. State awards
a $1 million federal Transportation Enhancement grant.
2007 Bob Greene moves to Madison and begins cleanup
along the abandoned railroad tracks west of Vernon Street. He
adopts Heritage Trail cleanup as his personal volunteer mission.
Ratio Architects completes an environmental and design study,
which is submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation.
2008 With the state applying pressure to use the
$1 million grant from 2002, the city of Madison agrees to a plan
diverting $500,000 of the Transportation Enhancement funds from
the Heritage Trail to the riverfront development project.
2010 State signs off on environmental study. Civil
engineering firm Butler, Fairman and Seufert Inc. and landscape
architects Rundell Ernstberger Associates are selected for trail
2011 Heritage Trail Inc. purchases 10 acres of riverfront
property from Fred Koehler for development as Heritage Park. City
of Madison receives a $382,776 Transportation Enhancement grant
to complete the next phase of the trail, from Crooked Creek to
Spring 2012 Next phase of trail will be let for
The lower portion of the trail, from Crooked Creek to
the western edge of Vaughn Drive, will be widened and paved in 2012
at a cost of $1 million or more. The city of Madison received a $382,776
Transportation Enhancement grant to add to a previous grant of $500,000.
The city will also kick in $200,000 from its Economic Development Income
Tax funds for the project.
In the same grant cycle, the city received a Transportation Enhancement
grant of $403,000 for improvements that will make the Madison Railroad
incline more pedestrian-friendly. With matching funds the railroad will
provide, the project will have $500,000 in funding. The work will start
A third area of improvements is the Madison Heritage Park now in development
on 10 acres of form industrial land on the riverfront. Trail director
Bob Greene, who spearheaded the effort to acquire the land, envisions
it as an area of natural beauty, where people can enjoy nature in close
proximity to the Ohio River.
These three efforts are progressing simultaneously in a coordinated
effort by volunteers, corporate donors and government officials. The
result will be a scenic but physically challenging pedestrian and cycling
route between the west end of Madisons riverfront and hilltop
homes and recreation areas.
The Heritage Trail is owned and maintained by the city of Madison, with
the help of a volunteer organization headed by Greene.
In the past year, the trail organizations name has been changed
from Heritage Trail Inc. to Heritage Trail Conservancy to reflect the
volunteers stewardship mission.
As Greene puts it, We are a 16-year-old, volunteer-based organization
dedicated to the preservation and management of the natural, scenic,
historical and cultural resources associated with the Heritage Trail
greenway, in order to provide primitive outdoor recreation and educational
opportunities for trail users and park users.
Heritage Trail to be enhanced
The city of Madison has hired the civil engineering firm of Butler,
Fairman and Seufert Inc. and landscape architects Rundell Ernstberger
Associates to design the improvements for the lower portion of the trail.
A draft plan dated July 29, 2011, is on file at city hall, and artistic
renderings are expected soon.
The new section will be paved to a width of 10-12 feet, with 2-foot
shoulders. Because it is being built with a federal grant, all construction
must comply with federal guidelines.
Madisons community development director, Jenny Eggenspiller, said
plans call for two areas to be highlighted. At the corner of Vaughn
Drive and Vernon Street, where the Heritage Trail meets the riverfront
walk, there will be landscaping and signage to call attention to the
trail, as well as additional parking spaces.
is the most incredible and fascinating landmark we have in Madison.
Bob Greene, Heritage Trail Director
Parking and landscaping will also be added at McIntire
Street, near Crooked Creek. Hikers and cyclists will have a choice of
taking a path to an overlook of the stone arch bridge, or taking another
path that will lead them over the bridge to the hillside portion of
The city expects to put the project out for construction bids in spring
The idea for the trail originated in 1995. From the beginning, it was
volunteers who provided the momentum for planning and fundraising, not
to mention work with shovels and axes. Initial grants came from local
organizations as well as the state of Indiana.
The first section of trail was paved and opened to the public in 2002.
It is a steep, three-quarter-mile segment from Crooked Creek to the
crest of the bluff, near the Madison Correctional Unit.
Since 2002, unpaved segments have been added near the top and bottom.
The top segment connects to the parking lot under the Madison State
Hospital water tower, while the lower segment crosses Crooked Creek
and connects to the riverfront walk along Vaughn Drive.
After the first section of trail was paved, volunteers took a breather
for a few years but were re-energized after Green moved to Madison in
2007 and started clearing debris along the abandoned railroad tracks
in downtown Madison. He soon became their No. 1 volunteer and eventually
assumed the title of trail director.
From 2007 to 2009, much of the trail work was accomplished by offenders
from the Madison Correctional Unit, who worked under Greenes direction.
During this time, the trail was extended across the stone arch bridge
over Crooked Creek, connecting the paved portion with downtown neighborhoods.
This year, the Jefferson County Probation Department and Drug Court
have referred probationers who need to do service hours.
The city of Madison maintains the Heritage Trail as a city park. The
city is the designated recipient for the federal Transportation Enhancement
grant and will manage next years trail construction, in cooperation
with the Indiana Department of Transportation.
by Laura Hodges
Madison walks her
dog, Misty, on the
Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong is quick to acknowledge the
trail volunteers, however. The committee is all volunteers and
they do a great job. They keep a lot of work off the city, said
In addition to Greene, current offers of the Heritage Trail Conservancy
are Chris Harper, vice president; Jim Olson, treasurer; and Ben Canida,
improvements planned for railroad incline
In an unusual move, the Indiana Department of Transportation
awarded money to a second, related project at the same time.
The Madison Railroad, operated by the city of Madison, in July was awarded
$403,000 in to make improvements to the historic railroad incline between
Madisons downtown and hilltop.
We want to preserve it and make it safe and aesthetically pleasing
for the public, said Cathy Hale, CEO of the Madison Railroad.
She expects to start work in 2012. The half-million-dollar project will
include excavation and rehabilitation of the incline area, landscaping
and installation of historic markers and signage. The project also includes
restoring the steps from the incline to Madison State Hospital and replacement
of ties to support the original rail structure.
While the project will not make it possible to operate a train on the
tracks, it does not preclude the possibility that the track could be
rehabilitated for that purpose if there is a need later.
Hale said hikers on the nearby Heritage Trail often walk
on the rail bed, too, which is dangerous in its current state. We
want to upgrade it to make it safe for a walking path, said Hale,
noting that the incline was the site of the first rail line in the state
of Indiana. We hate to see a piece of history lost like that.
The railroad cut was constructed from 1836 to 1841 and is 7,012 feet
long. Greene said, It is the most incredible and fascinating landmark
we have in Madison. It is an engineering marvel that brought people
from all over the world to see it.
Greene is pleased that Madison Railroad will be upgrading the tracks,
which run parallel to a portion of the Heritage Trail. The railroad
incline should be an integral part of the trail system, with total access
as far as walkers are concerned, he said. If restored, it
will be a great tourist attraction for Madison. Theres a great
fascination and love affair that the public has with railroads.
Park to be protected
Greene has big plans for Heritage Park, too. He envisions
a primitive, wooded area fronting the river, with a floating interpretive
center on a permanently anchored barge.
Greene became acquainted with the site when he tried to walk his dog,
Brandy, from his home on West Second Street to the river. He found his
way blocked by junk cars and other scrap along the abandoned railroad
line that runs parallel to the river. The railroad bed itself was full
of silt and barely recognizable as an important part of Madisons
Although the land was privately owned, he set about clearing it, recruiting
other volunteers whenever he could. He mentions John Hawk as an early
and frequent volunteer.
People told me I was a fool for doing what I was doing,
said Greene of his volunteer cleanup efforts. (Theyd say)
Youre cleaning up property that someone else is going to
benefit from. I said, Thats true, but its my
neighborhood and it needs to be cleaned up.
Greene said the future park area was a tattered urban landscape
and the salvage yard and trucking garage on the 10-acre site constituted
an environmental wasteland. During the remediation phase
of the future park, Greene got permission from the two tenants to collect
and recycle at least 15 scrap vehicles, tons of scrap metal, more than
3,200 tires and 600 feet of railroad track. He had trail supporter Tony
Hammock of Madison remove 43 lead acetylene cylinders, which he says
could have cost $5,000 each for a professional to remove.
Offenders from the Madison Correctional Unit cut dense undergrowth and
cleared away driftwood.
Dr. Bob Canida, a Madison dentist, put up $2,000 for an environmental
study. Various members of the community donated $2,300 for tire recycling.
Arvin Sango Inc. gave $7,000 for excavating. The Madison Street Department
and the Jefferson County Highway Department made important in-kind donations.
Meanwhile, Greene worked to find private donors to buy the 10-acre site
from owner Fred Koehler. No one thought we could raise a quarter
million dollars to buy this property, he remembered.
by Laura Hodges
Trail Director Bob Greene
talks with trail walkers Tina
Gourley (left) of Madison and
Kindle of Dupont, Ind.
Individuals and businesses gave a total of $132,500. The
Grote Endowment at the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson
County contributed $5,000. After intensive lobbying by Greene, the Indiana
Heritage Trust Fund committed $122,000 of the funds it collects from
Hoosiers who buy environmental license plates for their vehicles.
The purchase price of $250,000 was raised in only eight weeks. The property
was transferred to the Heritage Trail Conservancy on April 29, 2011.
The Indiana Heritage Trust Fund not only contributed money for the 10-acre
park but conferred a conservation easement that will protect it from
commercial development in perpetuity.
This is a model for public-private partnership, said Greene.
You dont have to have great infusions of government money
just a group of believers with a desire to get it done. The most
important thing is the ownership everyone takes by working down here.
Now Greene has turned his attention to purchasing the six acres that
lie between the 10-acre parcel and the Madison wastewater treatment
plant. My dream and I hope I can do it before the end of
the year is to find a philanthropist who will buy this,
He continued, We think were one of the best investments
anyone can make in Madison. All across the nation, greenways are taking
their place of importance in communities.
Back to September 2011