Hendricks County Parks and Recreation has partnered with the Hendricks County Trail Association to maintain the three-mile Vandalia Trail that connects Amo to Coatesville and in the future, extend the trail across the county.
In Putnam County our own People Pathways is continuing to move forward as well. It will eventually meet with the Coatesville to Amo trail making Pathways part of the NRHT.
Once the Fillmore/Coatesville trail is completed it will become part of a 150-mile, cross-state, multipurpose trail running from Richmond to Terre Haute that includes the People Pathways in Putnam County.
Joy Marley with People Pathways and Greg Midgley with NRHT appeared at several Town Council meetings in Fillmore to talk about the advantages of the trail.
"The benefit to the trail," Midgley told the board, "is the ability to bicycle on an unbroken string of paths through communities and rural areas that are formed by a historic transportation corridor."
"It will help enhance Indiana as a recreational tourism destination and bring the economic benefits that accompany an extended bicycle and equestrian trails network. It enhances the sense of community with the intimate pace of trail travel. And, it helps attract and retain an energetic workforce in the state," he added.
The town councils of Plainfield, Clayton, Amo, and Coatesville have endorsed a greenways connection along this corridor in their areas.
This proposed NRHT is a continuous system of multi-use trails built along or near the former Pennsylvania, Vandalia and electric interurban railway corridors from Terre Haute to Indianapolis to Richmond.
It will closely follow the Historic National Road and U.S. 40 for much of its route.
Across Indiana, the trail would wind from Terre Haute to Brazil to Greencastle, Fillmore to Coatesville-Amo, Plainfield to the Pleasant Run Trail in Indianapolis to Cumberland and Greenfield, Henry County and Richmond.
It will connect a number of local trails like People Pathways and form a scenic alternative route for pedestrians, bicyclists and horseback riders separated from motorized vehicles.
Hendricks County was awarded a $665,238 grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) last November to further develop NRHT in Hendricks County.
In Plainfield, the trail has been developed into a paved, multi-use, non-motorized recreation trail. An additional three miles of natural surface trail exists between Amo and Coatesville with a parallel trail for equestrian riders. For the past two years, Hendricks County Parks have worked in partnership with the Indiana Trails Fund improving and maintaining that portion of the trail.
Plainfield has plans to extend their trail to meet with the Amo trail at Cartersburg Road providing great connectivity for trail users.
Recently, Putnam County Area 30 construction equipment operation students began the arduous task of clearing the five-mile former Vandalia Railroad corridor between Fillmore and Coatesville. This segment will connect on the west end to the existing People Pathways Fillmore/Greencastle Trail and make a "key" connection to the future Campus Link Trail, Phase IV of the City of Greencastle's network of multi-use trails.
NRHT is studying ways to route the trail to the southwest to rejoin the National Road by way of the scenic Big Walnut Creek area with initial local contacts made in the Reelsville and the Limedale areas. Features on this trail would include DePauw University, new Ivy Tech Campus, the DePauw University Nature Park, Big Walnut Creek and Robe Ann Park.
"This trail will be a great pathway for hikers, bikers, and horse riders to travel between our communities in a safe and enjoyable way," said Midgley.
Within the City of Greencastle, Putnam County Area 30 construction equipment operation students also helped with preliminary clearing of the Deer Meadow to Albin Pond section of the People Pathways trail in March to comply with laws protecting Indiana's brown bat population. Bidding for construction of the Albin Pond Trail project will be in September.
This leg of the Pathways is being paid for with an Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Transportation Enhancement Award received in Sept. 2001 and a Safe Routes to school Grant given to the city in Nov. 2006.
The rest of the money comes from the city in the form of grants allocated through Economic Development Tax Dollars, grants from the Putnam Community Foundation, in kind donations of land and donations from individuals.
This section of the pathway should be completed by early spring next year.
For information about the People Pathways call the City of Greencastle, the Putnam County Economic Development Center, the Putnam County Community Foundation or the Greencastle Chamber of Commerce. Information is also available at www.cityofgreencastle.com under the main menu for People Pathways. Information about NRHT can be accessed at www.indianatrails.org/NRHT.