TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– The Vigo County Parks Department is seeking $1 million for a number of improvements to local trails.
The request, which was made to the Vigo County Council on Tuesday, would encompass three different projects; $525,000 for the first phase of the Riley Spur Trail, $300,000 to extend the Wabashiki Trail in West Terre Haute across U.S. 40, and $175,000 to build an overlook at Dewey Point.
Adam Grossman, the parks superintendent, said the proposals look to capitalize on the success they’ve seen since opening the pedestrian walkway several years ago.
“Obviously people are interested in it, and we want to get people outdoors. We cut the ribbon on the RTP trail, which is on the other side of the walkway, here on September 30th, so keeping that momentum going, making this overlook people can be really proud of,” he said.
Grossman said they had drawings on the Dewey Point overlook going back to 2015 or 2016. The parks department has worked with Duke Energy to build the structure on foundation remaining from an old energy tower in the area.
The Riley Spur trail in the southern part of the county will look to establish a trailhead near the Riley Town Hall building, and these funds will cover the first phase of construction, according to county commissioner Mark Clinkenbeard.
“This $500,000 will do the first phase, which would be Louisville Road to Lama Street. And once we get that, we’re going to get more grants hopefully and we’ll continue that on to the Idle Creek area, and eventually, hopefully hook up with the city around Rea Park,” he said.
Grossman hopes the county will keep expanding trails– something he believes can help bring more people in the area.
“Vigo County is quickly becoming, and can become, the hub for all these trails coming from Parke County, Vermillion County, Sullivan and Clay counties,” he said. “Vigo County is right in the middle of all of it, and we really need to be able to capitalize on that opportunity. The opportunity as a community to bring other people here.”
He said he is happy to see other county officials prioritizing these proposals– something he believes came out of the pandemic.
“We saw during covid, the importance to the public of outdoor public space, so that need has been catapulted to the front and the forefront of people’s minds, that they need that place to go for physical and mental relaxation.” he said.
The funding for these projects comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal program established back in 2020. County council will vote next week, and if approved, Grossman believes work will start sometime in the spring of 2024.