BOONVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Boonville residents had their chance to see renderings of a proposed pedestrian trail expansion for the first time. After months of public input and designing, the layouts were revealed during an open house in downtown Boonville.
“It’s been really, really neat to see it all come together,” says Boonville City Councilman Jim Miller.
The designs come after the city was awarded a $30,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to implement a master plan for this trail network with new and existing infrastructure. Brad Scales, the trail’s designer, says public surveys show a strong interest in playgrounds and natural-surface trails.
“The data definitely pointed to recreation and exercise as being one of the main uses for the path system,” says Scales.
Scales says connectivity is another driving force behind the plan, which will utilize existing roads and sidewalks in addition to new paths throughout the county. There are some challenges with the plan, such as narrow bike paths on existing roadways. Councilman Miller says pedestrian safety will be one of the main hurdles of the plan.
“We’ve got state highways running through in some of the areas we want to connect,” explains Miller. “We have to figure out safe ways for people to get across those highways without having to dodge traffic.”
Scales adds, “We’re going to be working very closely with the city and coming up with a final plan that they are willing to adopt. And, with that plan, we’re looking to advertise it very heavily and use that to our advantage when we’re applying for grants and seeking to get funding for this project.”
While completion of the trails project is several years away, Miller says there is a strong likelihood the final design will be approved by Fall of 2023. After approval, the trails committee will then begin working with engineers to determine construction costs. Once costs are determined, the city will then begin applying for grant funding for the project.
Miller says even as the plans move forward, public input will be needed. He encourages residents to bring their questions and concerns to him. Residents can reach Councilman Miller by email at Jim4boonville@gmail.com, or by contacting the Boonville Now! Facebook page.