RILEY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Construction on the first phase of the Riley Spur Trail project is slated to start in late summer or early fall of this year, according to Vigo County officials. 

The work will be from the start of the trail, near Louisville Road, to Lama Street just south of Dusty Transmission Services and State Road 46– in total, about just short of two miles of the former railroad, according to county commissioner Mark Clinkenbeard. 

“We look to start some work this summer. Things like, as you can see, we’ve got some debris to clean up, some grading and things like that,” he said. “We kind of chose this section first because there are less bridges, and it would be a little less money. But there are some roads that we have to cross, just like behind me [near State Road 159 and Gross Drive], a very busy road, we have to find a safe way to go across that.”

Those safety concerns were addressed by students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, who have been working on the project throughout this school year. Clinkenbeard said they are focusing on signage for both walkers and drivers at those intersections. 

Some residents have made their voices heard on privacy issues with their homes near the trail. Clinkenbeard said the county was working with them to find a solution. 

“We’re really trying to work with the residents that live along the trail in Riley. They’ve lived along this and it’s not been anything, so it’s a little bit of questioning, ‘Do I really want people walking by my house?’ So we’re working with them to do privacy screenings or trees,” he said. 

With the work slated to start, some local residents are excited to see what comes out of the trail. Steve Hardin, a member of a local walking group, the Centenary Striders, said he thinks more parks and trails are beneficial for the community as a whole. 

“It makes Terre Haute a much more welcoming place,” he said. “If I owned a company, I would use that as one of the selling points to get people to come and work here. It’s a great place, I love to bicycle and the idea of being able to bicycle out to Riley would be just wonderful.”

Other group members echoed his sentiments. Don Dodson said they utilize parks around the city and county and they have been monitoring this project since the start.

Currently, the county is waiting on a $400,000 grant from the state that can cover around half of the project costs for this project. Clinkenbeard said they are also working with the Riley Town Council to place a trailhead near their town hall building. 

He said his biggest hope was it can help make the community healthier– and continue to bring growth to the east side.

“It’s just a quality of life type thing that we want to bring to our community, it’s what a lot of growing communities have,” Clinkenbeard said. “I just think this east side, with the casino and all that’s going on out there, it’s going to head this way. This is a great little town and we want to keep that small town feel for sure. I think these improvements will make it an even better place for the residents here.”

Phase two for the project will bring the trail to the area near the Idle Creek Golf Course, and would begin once this phase finishes up, which Clinkenbeard said would hopefully be by the end of 2023. Anyone interested in contacting the Centenary Striders club should contact Dodson for more information at