Syracuse Trail Project Begins Route Planning

As the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee continues to move forward with a plan to create bicycle/pedestrian paths through the lake community, the committee recognizes the need for a grant writer.

Mike Buhrt, chairman of SWTC, told the Syracuse Park Foundation at a meeting this week, that the trail committee currently does not have a lot of money, so the plan is to spend some time getting organized and doing some fundraising. Another matter that will be discussed at the next trail committee meeting will be a proposal from a grant writer.

Dr. Tom Edington, president of the park foundation board and superintendent of Wawasee Community Schools, suggested that the trail committee consider applying for a Safe Route to Schools grant through the Indiana Department of Transportation. A $25,000 planning grant is available. If awarded, the school and trail committee would work with Michiana Area Council of Governments on potential routes.

After the planning grant, a $250,000 implementation grant would be available. Buhrt and Edington discussed the idea of applying for the SR 13 section of the trail down around Wawasee Middle School.

It was also noted that the Tour des Lakes will be held July 13. It is a chamber event and a representative of the trail committee will be joining the planning committee for the Tour des Lakes, which hosts multiple bike rides through the area. Volunteers are needed to help out on July 13. For more information check out the event’s website, tourdeslakes.com.

In other matters, Syracuse Park Superintendent Chad Jonsson reported on progress for the Harold Schrock Athletic Complex. The concession stands and restrooms have been completed, water has been turned on and concrete pads for the bleachers and dug outs have been poured. Teams are already using the fields for practice and Jonsson expects some games to be played there yet this spring.

Donn Baird, park foundation treasurer, asked about drainage with all the rain the area has received in recent weeks. Jonsson said things were going well until last Friday when the fields were a bit damp.

Arbor Day will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at the athletic complex. Funds are still being raised for bleachers and for a matching grant for lights. It’s hoped enough will be raised so lights can be installed in the fall.

(For a more in-depth account of the park foundation meeting, see yesterday’s issue of The Mail-Journal)

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