Ahead of the new year, Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron said residents can look forward to three projects the town will pursue in 2022.
Big-4 Rail Trail
One of Zionsville’s top priorities is the completion of the Big-4 Rail Trail to the town limits, Styron said. The Big-4 Rail Trial, a nearly 3.75-mile-long paved pathway, forms the backbone of a 20-mille trail system in Zionsville and links numerous community features either directly or indirectly along other trails. However, work still needs to be done to connect the existing trail to the town limits on the north and south ends of the trail.
“The Zionsville Rail Trail is going to complete a southern expansion and trailhead, and it’s going to expand to the north,” Styron said. “Right now, the plan is to widen the trail itself. There are a lot of plans, and I mention them in three distinct segments because, as we all know, supply chain issues and costs are increasing, so we are working to prioritize which of these phases we can undertake with the resources that are going to be available.”
Completion of the trail to the south would include extending it from its existing end at the One-hundred Foot Bridge to a trailhead at Zionsville Road. A portion, including a 15-foot wide trail from the edge of the development to Zionsville Road, has already been constructed as part of the Vonterra Development, according to the Zionsville Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
The proposed northern trail extension would connect with the existing rail trail at Heritage Trail Park and continue to Whitestown’s future segment of the Big-4 Rail Trail.
“One of our goals is to continue to connect our community with other communities through our trail system,” Styron said.
Town officials envision Zionsville’s portion of the trail to connect with Whitestown, Lebanon and Indianapolis, forming an expansive trail system for residents.
Amanda Vela, the town’s public information officer, said the southern portion of the Big-4 Rail Trail will be paved and widened in early 2022 as part of ongoing construction of Zionsville’s Overly-Worman Park.
In 2017, Zionsville completed its master plan process for the proposed Overley-Worman Park, which is adjacent to Eagle Creek and across from Starkey Nature Park. In March 2021, the town began construction on the park, and it is expected to open sometime in 2022.
Park amenities and layout were developed based on public input. When complete, the Overley-Worman Park will include the following features:
- Mountain bike trails
- Paved and natural walking trails
- Fishing pier and boardwalk around the existing pond
- Playground area with shelters and picnic tables
- 18-hole disc golf course
- Park overlooks
- Park entrance bridge connecting with the Big-4 Rail Trail extension
- Natural walking path along Eagle Creek
“What’s remarkable to me as I’m watching this development unfold is how many hidden treasures are in that area that we have never really had an opportunity to see or experience,” Styron said. “And I can promise both residents and visitors that they are going to love Overly-Worman and all of the amenities that are going to be available to us through that southern trail project.”
The town is developing a land-use plan specifically for Perry Township, with the objective of engaging the community to gather public input.
“I’ve spent quite a bit of time to cultivate some relationships in Perry Township and learn a little bit more about their desires now that they are a part of Zionsville through the reorganization process,” Styron said. “That entire area is seeing quite a bit of growth and change and infrastructure changes. What we would like to do is engage the community to get a sense of what they would like to see the town invest in their community.”
Styron said the land-use plan would be a priority in the new year. She said town council member Craig Melton would be heavily involved with the plan because he represents residents in the township.
“Without planning, then growth happens not necessarily in a coordinated and a sustainable, viable manner,” Styron said. “And through planning, we are able to really prioritize how that growth evolves (and determine) what kind of components that are infrastructure oriented, public sector-oriented go along with growth. We manage the zoning commitments that (are) associated with this, so that is definitely an important step for Perry Township — for growth to be managed in their community (so) our sense of place in Perry Township is given an opportunity to evolve in a way the community feels is appropriate for their rural lifestyle.”