Lawrence secures $1.7 million for trails enhancement


The City of Lawrence is one step closer to better connecting its community after receiving a $1.7 million Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources Next Level Trails grant April 20.

Funding will be used to construct two 10-foot-wide pedestrian trail segments in Lawrence.

The first segment is along Lee Road from East 59th Street to East 63rd Street. The second is along East 63rd Street from Lee Road to Winona Drive.

CIG COM 0503 next level trails Murphy

Trail construction will span 1.2 miles and enhance pedestrian connectivity to: Fort Harrison State Park, The Fort Golf Course, Fort Benjamin Harrison YMCA, Lawrence Civic Plaza, the Arts for Lawrence Cultural Campus, Forest Glen Elementary School, Fall Creek Valley Middle School, Ivy Tech Community College, Lee Road Park, Lawrence Community Park, Watson Farms subdivision, 20-plus restaurants and nearly 200 individual businesses.

Lawrence will contribute a $500,000 match for the grant.

Lawrence Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Murphy said acquiring the grant took several years. The city first applied in late 2019 and learned in 2021 that its application was denied.

“We went back to the drawing board and evaluated what went well and what didn’t go well,” Murphy said. “Going into the next round of funding, we knew where we were at and our strengths and weaknesses.”

The city rewrote its proposal for the same request and this time received a grant. Lawrence will now begin the design phase. Murphy said he hopes construction can begin next year and be complete in 2024.

Murphy said the new trails will connect several miles of existing trails.

“It’s the next step in a continuation of effort the city is making to try to develop trails that already exist and extend those to touch new residents,” Murphy said. “This is a landmark award for the city. We have never received this funding for trail building before, so we are hopeful this is just the start of our trail building and not the end.”