adds five acres along riverfront
Trust grant, donations
help fund land purchase
(January 2013) Thanks to a $75,000 grant from
the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, the Heritage Trail Conservancy
in Madison, Ind., has purchased another five acres of land along the
Ohio River to further extend its 13-mile Heritage Trail walking and
bicycle path. The purchase was announced by Bob Greene, the nonprofit
groups executive director.
recent expansion includes a
portion of the site of the former
Johnson Starch Works factory
that operated in the early 1900s.
The grant, awarded Dec. 11, will cover three-fourths of
the $100,000 purchase price of the land, which belonged to six heirs
of the late James P. Maddox, known for operating tobacco warehouses
in Madison many years ago. Private donations will cover the rest of
the purchase cost, Greene said.
Greene has recently recruited new board members for the group and on
Dec. 4 appeared before the 14-member Bicentennial Nature Trust board
in Indianapolis with new board chair Dick McCracken of Madison. Other
new board members include Ben Canida, Gary Valen and Ryan Myers. They
join existing board members Tony Hammock, Chris Harper and Jim Olson.
The nonprofit board oversees fundraising, maintenance and planning of
the trail, which extends from the Madison State Hospital grounds on
the hilltop down to the Ohio River at Vaughn Drive. The recent purchase
gives the group more access to the river and borders the existing trail
near the far west end of Vaughn Drive. The land includes an area that
was once part of the site of the former Johnson Starch Works that operated
in Madison in the early 1900s. The factory employed about 150 people
and its complex of buildings included corn storage sheds and a large
warehouse that later became part of Tower Manufacturing Co. In 1890,
Richard Johnson sold the starch company to a national corporation. The
company closed around 1914, and Maddox bought the property in 1924 for
his tobacco warehouses.
Greene said he was able to track down Maddoxs heirs, two granddaughters
living out of state and four great grandchildren. They all agreed to
sell the property at a fair price, Greene said.
The purchase brings to 15 the total number of acres owned by the Heritage
Trail Conservancy, Greene said.
We are so grateful to our donors and supporters of the trail to
enable us to buy this land that will be yet another step in the development
of this wonderful natural asset for Madison, Greene said.
The Bicenten-nial Nature Trust Board was created by Indiana
Gov. Mitch Daniels in January 2012 by setting aside $20 million in state
money. The fund was supported recently with another $10 million grant
from the Lilly Endowment.
According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website,
the intent of the trust is to preserve and protect important conservation
and recreation areas throughout the state of Indiana. Property ac-quired
with this fund will become part of the public trust to ensure that the
land is protected for future generations.
Indiana will celebrate its bicentennial in 2016 and these acquired lands
will be recognized, the website says.
The land in Madison acquired with Bicentennial Nature Trust funds will
be placed into a conservation easement for its future protection.
Greene, meanwhile, was honored last year by the Madison Area Chamber
of Commerce with its Jeff Garrett Community Service Award for his work
in cleaning up the trail, fundraising to extend the trail into the downtown
area, and for his building the nonprofit agency into a viable operation.
Development of the Heritage Trail began in 1995 as part of a Total Quality
of Life initiative. Using local and state funds, the first leg of the
trail opened in 2002. A $1 million federal grant was later awarded that
year to help further develop it. With pressure from the state to use
the money, former Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong diverted half of the money
to the Madison Riverfront Development Project. Some of the remaining
money was used to hire design consultants for the future development
of the Heritage Trail.
Greene moved to Madison in 2007 and voluntarily began cleaning up the
trail area and adopting it as his personal mission to expand it. Another
$382,776 in federal grant money was awarded last year to enable the
group to purchase an 11-acre tract of riverfront property and to complete
the phase of trail from Crooked Creek to Vaughn Drive.
To learn more, visit: www.HeritageTrailConservancy.com.
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