Dearborn County has landed former chief executive officer of Great Parks of Hamilton County Jack Sutton to head up its trails assessment effort. One Dearborn, the economic development organization for Dearborn County, says the partnership will create new trails and improve existing trails and could ultimately be the first step toward developing a master plan.

The organization says Sutton, a resident of Dearborn County, will conduct a “State of Trails in Dearborn County” report later this year. The report will be shared among the county and local governments, as well as nonprofits and businesses, to unify planning and implementation efforts.

The organization says the efforts will pave the way towards the eventual creation of a “Comprehensive Trails Master Plan for Dearborn County,” a key qualification to obtain grant funding.

“Having a strong network of multi-use trails that connect people and communities will ensure Dearborn County remains a great place to live, work & play. I look forward to working with One Dearborn and our community leaders in planning for the future,” said Sutton.

The contracted work will focus on four main tasks:

  • Inventory and analysis of existing trail assets and initiatives
  • Identification of potential funding resources for trail-related planning and construction
  • Preparation of an executive summary report documenting findings and next steps
  • Sharing the project findings with city and county officials, community stakeholder groups and citizens

Sutton was chief executive officer of Great Parks of Hamilton County before retiring last year. He has worked in public park systems since 1989, holding positions like park planner, planning director and deputy director. Sutton has also served as chairman of the Hamilton County Natural Resources Assistance Council, as well as the board of a sustainability alliance Green Umbrella.

“Not only does Jack Sutton have a zeal for the outdoors and recreation, but his professional and volunteer experience brings a unique and deep understanding of how to inventory trail and park assets across multiple communities,” said Terri Randall, One Dearborn president and chief executive officer.

The organization says trail connectivity is a top priority, and it already has plans in place for extensions and improvements of the Dearborn Trail, Aurora Riverfront Trail, and segments of Bright trails, as well as new trail projects across the county.

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