By Desiree Williams
The Zionsville Parks Dept. is planning to extend the Big-4 Rail Trail. The new corridor would extend southward from its current end at Eagle Creek to Zionsville Road.
“Indiana ranks very poorly in terms of overall health in the nation, so anything we can do to help our citizens have opportunities to bicycle, walk, run and inline skate, those sorts of things and just get out and be sociable with other communities members on the trail are a big help,” Parks Director Matt Dickey said.
The department applied for a $200,000 matching Recreational Trail Program grant in May but did not receive it. The state awards grant money based on a point system and only provided grants to applications with 27-29 points. Dickey said Zionsville’s application received 26 points.
As they await next year’s application period, the department officials are looking at other projects that could help secure another point on the application.
“We’re looking at the rating factors and seeing if there is a way we can do something in another park that touches the rail corridor at the other end and still make it part of what (the state) supports with trails,” Dickey said.
The state ranks the project before sending them to the federal level for review. Dickey said January or February of 2019 is the earliest the department could receive federal approval. If approved, the project would move to the land acquisition and construction permit phase.
Dickey said Zionsville has had a plan for years to extend the trail to 96th Street, so this is just another step.
“(Rail corridors) help the health of the community,” he said. “I’m talking physical health of the members of the community, but they help the economic health of the community. Not just homes, but businesses look at these sorts of things for moving into communities.”