$100,000 grant

UPDATE- Even though we received this great $100,000 grant from the state… it is a matching grant, which means we need about $80,000 before construction can begin on Phase 2 of the Greenway Trail.

Shelby County Parks Foundation was established in 2011 to play a major role in maintaining, enhancing and expanding local parks. “The city/county network of parks and greenspaces represent the spirit of our citizens – a commitment to a rich quality of life through healthy, active, engaged neighborhoods,” said Mimi Ward, chair of the foundation.

She and Parks Grant Writer/Parks Consultant Clay Cottongim are happy to report that Governor Matt Bevin has supported the commitment by awarding a $100,000 Recreational Trails Program matching grant. The Recreational Trails Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Grants may be used to provide assistance for acquisition of easements; development and/or maintenance of recreational trails; and trailhead facilities for both motorized and non-motorized use.

The state’s philosophy in providing these grants is two-fold: promoting physical activities for citizens and promoting tourism activities in various communities. Judge-Executive Dan Ison said, “This is quite a compliment to Shelby County to receive this grant from the state. State grants are hard to obtain so this speaks highly of the quality of this program.”

The $100,000 matching grant awarded to Judge-Executive Ison, Fiscal Court and Parks will be used on Phase 2 of the Greenway Trail. This two-mile stretch is off North Seventh Street, starting at the Seventh Street bridge and running around behind Calvary Cemetery, school and private properties to connect to Lake Shelby.

Phase 1 received $50,000 from J. Clifford Todd toward that federal/state matching grant along with over $50,000 in other private and other agency donations. His interest in riding bicycles prompted the formation of the Park’s Poker Pedal event last May. Cottongim said a little over $5,000 was raised at the event, despite rain and cold temperatures last year. The committee has set this year’s June 3rd event goal at $25,000.

He and parks foundation directors knows there is excitement about the extension of the Greenway Trail. “We have had hundreds of users on the one-mile trail – everything from babies in strollers to people in wheelchairs to runners,” Cottongim explained about the Phase 1 Greenway Trail that has been popular with citizens of all ages. James and Janet Heady admit they’re too old to walk the trail in cold weather but typically they went three days a week. She said, “We walk the entire length and will be glad when we can go on the next phase.”

When Dr. Dan Bowersox donated a tract of land for the Phase 1 trail, Cottongim learned from the optometrist’s employees that several walk the path every day at lunch. A wooden stairway behind City Hall on Washington Street is accessible to the creek-side path.

Parks Foundation volunteers are now seeking donations to match the $100,000. Judge-executive Ison said Fiscal Court is happy to provide its financial allotment as well as in-kind services for the project. He hopes citizens will also get on board, “In order for the parks system to grow, we need a commitment for donations and a commitment for participation in activities.”

Others have expressed appreciation for the Greenway Trail, according to Cottongim, because “The seasons can be enjoyed from a different vantage point since you are eye-to-eye with Clear Creek. People are also face-to-face with nature and exposed to wildlife even though they are in the middle of town. Several have said they wished that phase was longer. Now their wish has come true because the new phase will add two more miles!”

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