Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Cameron Clark have announced the first recipients of funding from the Next Level Trails program. The 17 recipients will receive nearly $25 million for 42 miles of new trail development. 

Holcomb first announced plans for the $90 million program in December. In February, the governor’s office said the program had received more than 80 applications seeking $144 million in funding.

The program, which Holcomb’s office says is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history, is divided between $70 million for regional projects and $20 million for local projects. In this first round, the state is providing $20 million for regional projects and $5 million for local projects.

"These 17 projects are a tremendous investment in quality of life for Hoosiers as trails create important connections within and between communities across our state," Holcomb said in a news release. "Our growing network of trails is more than a recreational and transportation amenity – it’s an important tool for economic development by helping Indiana attract and retain the best workforce in the country."

The state says the recipients contributed $12.5 million in matching funds. The program requires a 20 percent project match.

"The additional leverage provided by community partners above and beyond the program match requirement speaks to the local support these projects enjoy and helps to stretch these dollars for more miles of trail," said Clark. "It’s exciting to see local governments, non-profits, philanthropy, and the business community work together to build trails."

The grants include nearly $4.9 million for the B&O Trail in Speedway, which would include 2.6 miles of new trail to bridge a gap between existing trains in Speedway and Hendricks County. Town Manager Jacob Blasdel tells Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman the project will have particular benefits in the month of May.

"People are always looking for the easiest way to get to the race, so this will be a really nice additional alternative," says Blasdel. "The more people that can bike in, walk in, whatever, the better…relieve some of the congestion, relieve some of the traffic and the parking, so it has a bunch of benefits for that purpose too."

The program will have two more funding rounds before being complete. You can view the full list of recipients and descriptions of their projects below: