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Mountain Bike Trail Coming to Fowler Park

Vigo County Parks Board created an advisory council to begin work on a mountain bike trail for Fowler Park. The trail will honor Wabash Valley hero, Sergeant Dale Griffin, who died in Afghanistan in 2009.
Fowler Park is the future home to Vigo County's first mountain bike trail system. Enthusiasts of the sport think the path will make good use of the former strip mine.

"It would make great use of a beautiful areas that isn't really doing much except sitting stagnant right now," said Jerry Harnack, owner of J's Bikes. "It could also improve the area environmentally wise as well as fitness wise for Terre Haute."

Because it is in a county park, construction and maintenance of the trail can be funded through the Park's Board's budget. But the trail committee has a world class facility vision that makes private donations a must.

"We are looking at a big facility," said Vigo County Parks Board Superintendent Kara Kish. "Lots of miles of trails and potentially some competition space. So you're talking a large dollar amount to construct, to operate, to maintain. SO a lot of the funds are going to be coming from private dollars."

Kish says she's wanted to build a mountain bike trail in a county park for years but never had the resources, until she met a Terre Haute family looking to honor their son.

"It was a perfect marriage between the Griffin family and the Vigo County Parks Department," said Kish. "For years we had wanted to have a mountain bike trail system in our parks. We kind of had a space picked out but we never moved forward, and then I met Gene Griffin."

"This is a way really that our son could be remembered in a positive way and making a difference in the community," said Gene Griffin, advisory council member and father of Sergeant Dale Griffin. "That's the reason he went into the military and he continues to do with opportunities like this that are coming along."

Sergeant Dale Griffin was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. He was a lifeguard in the park growing up, and his father can't imagine a trail in his honor anywhere else.

"It's always been a special place to him," said Gene Griffin. "So we thought it would be really incredible if we could introduce an idea like this."

Wednesday night's meeting was the first for the mountain bike trail advisory committee. Their next step will be to solidify their vision for the trail and begin hiring contractors. Advisory council members estimate ground breaking on the trail will be in about two years. 
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