PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Plans for The Parke Community Rail Trail are shaping up as its construction continues through the countryside of Parke County.

Bids were entered last week for the newest addition of two and a half to three miles of trail, projected to be completed by next spring, while the full 10.5-11 miles of trails are aimed to be completed in 2024. 

“The section we have in now was completed in 2015. That was made possible with a grant through the DNR as well at the time,” explained project manager Mark Davis.“It’s been well received and we’ve gotten good support. We’re finally to the part where we can start building. It’s been a long process.”

With such a large project underway, the construction is sectioned into five phases in total and will take a lot of time and funding.

“The project is being done in five phases because of the length of the trail and the amount of work to be done. We plan to have some kind of event at the end of each phase. Maybe holding some community events, 5K walk/runs to raise more money to help us keep going on the project. Our project total is almost 6.5 million dollars, and we are a small non-profit. We plan to have some additional fundraising events in order to keep everything going,” Davis said.

Utilizing portions of the former Pennsylvania Railroad, the trail is planned to connect the Parke and Vigo County line to the Rockville Depot, connecting several communities throughout the area along the way.

“The plan is to go from the Parke County Vigo County line at Lambert Ave to the depot in Rockville. We’ll be passing through 4 communities and we hope to have some historic information about each community, and there are several points of interest along the way that we hope to share historical information about with those that use the trails,” Davis said.

Highlighting the natural beauty of Parke County, the trail will also help connect people to the nature surrounding the area.

“Our hope is to provide a safe place for people to get out and enjoy the outdoors. You see deer, and wild turkeys, and bald eagles, this is going through the beautiful countryside that Parke County is known for. This is one more thing that they can come out and enjoy.”

For more information about the trail, or to donate or volunteer, check out the Parke Trails Alliance website, or visit the Parke Trails Alliance Facebook page.