Heritage Trail of Madison

Carmel, Ind., consultant predicts
positive economic impact from trails

Design consultant selection
critical to Heritage Trail success

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(January 2010) – A pedestrian and bicycle trail, such as the Heritage Trail of Madison, can provide new economic development opportunities for a community, according to a state expert in trail development.

Ron Carter

Photo by Don Ward

Ron Carter, executive director of
the Greenways Foundation of Indiana,
speaks with Cathy Hale, executive
director of the Madison Railroad,
following Carter’s speech to a group
of Madison citizens Dec. 2 at
The Livery Stable.

“Many Indiana communities are dying,” said Ron Carter, executive director of the Greenways Foundation of Indiana. “Tourism is a way to bring business back. Linear parks, or trails are a way to increase tourism.”
Carter spoke Dec. 2 at a luncheon in Madison about the positive economic impact trails bring to communities. The Greenways Foundation is a charitable trust working to promote the growth, enhancement and use of Indiana greenways, or multi-use trails.
Madison city officials will meet soon to select a design consultant to complete the riverfront portion of The Heritage Trail of Madison, which began 14 years ago by a group of volunteers. Six design companies have submitted bids to complete the trail.
“Selecting the appropriate designer is crucial to the project,” said Heritage Trail President Bob Greene. “We have to make sure we get the right one for a project as important as this could be to the economy of Madison.”
Greene is on the selection committee that will review the bids and score them and make the final decision. The committee is made up of three city officials and two Heritage Trail volunteers.
Carter, who was invited to Madison by Greene to speak, described how various trails he has worked on, including the Monan Trail in his hometown of Carmel, have increased tourism.
“Indiana has realized the economic opportunity trails provide and have put into their master plan to have 2,200 trail miles throughout the state by 2016,” he said. “Gov. Daniels wants every Hoosier to be within a 71/2 minute drive of a trail or greenway.”
“Madison’s tourism is thriving,” he said. “With very little expenditure and a lot of volunteerism, tourism could increase even more.”
He also said it is the quality of life that brings people to communities, and trails increase the quality of life by improving the environment, improving health and providing more recreational opportunities.
Already, a small, 3/4-mile section of the hilltop section, which runs from the Madison State Hospital to Crooked Creek, is paved and being used by walkers and cyclists. A temporary wooden bridge has been constructed over the Madison Railroad’s Crooked Creek Bridge that allows hikers to cross over crooked creek.
The lower portion of the trail begins where the Madison River Walk ends at Vernon Street and winds up meeting with the paved portion at Crooked Creek. The lower part of the trail has had several problems that have delayed its construction, including right-of-way issues.
In 2002, a group of volunteers that included Madison residents Karen Bump, Tom Pritchard, Jim Olson and Julie Rubio, developed the Heritage Trail Inc. It operates as a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of the Historic Hoosier Hills. The group had conceived an idea for a non-motorized trail that would connect downtown Madison to the hilltop. Once completed, the trail would be added to the list of thousands of similar trails across the nations that are being built to enhance economic opportunities in those communities. The group applied for and received approval for a $1 million Transportation Enhance-ment grant.
Over the course of the next few years, the group hired Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects Inc. to complete an environmental and design study. Throughout its 14-year history, the project has seen many delays due to design and property rights issues, lack of funding and a lack of support.
Last year, the City of Madison diverted $500,000 of the grant money, with Indiana Department of Transportation approval, to finish the river walk project.
“We were glad the money was used to assist another important project,” said Greene. “We are hoping, however, to write more grants and get that funding back.”
Jenny Eggenspiller, special projects coordinator for the city, said the city is moving forward with the design frame of the project and hopes to begin construction as soon as all the details can be worked out. She said the remaining funds for the Heritage Trail “may not be enough to cover” actual construction from Vernon Street to across Crooked Creek, but “we will stretch those dollars as far as possible.”

Back to January 2010 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta