The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has approved more Regional Cities Initiative funding for northeast Indiana. More than $940,000 will be dedicated to the first phase expansion of the Wabash River Trail, which IEDC President Elaine Bedel says will increase wellness and connectivity in the region.
The 33-mile trail will be located along the north bank of the Wabash River with the goal of connecting to the Wabash River Walk, the Forks of the Wabash trail network in Huntington and the Nickel Plate Trial in Peru. The IEDC says, when complete, the project will be one of the "premier trail destinations in the state."
The project is estimated to cost $4.86 million, with additional funding coming from local philanthropists. Amy Ford, president of the Wabash River Trail Inc., says the Regional Cities funding shows the IEDC recognizes the importance of trail development in Indiana.
"The state of Indiana needs to continue to create unique and healthy places to live in order to attract and retain talent," said Ford. "This effort needs to not just be in very urban areas but in all our great communities across our state and region. Trails have proven to be a high value amenity when people choose to locate to a new community. We are excited to continue our efforts in the first phase of this project and about the amenities we are adding to the town of Lagro."
The IEDC says project planning and site work for the first phase of the trail is underway and is expected to be complete by June 2018. The project was one of seven to receive approval in April by the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority before moving on to consideration by the IEDC.