Announcement as posted on the Aboite New Trails Web site:
Vera Bradley's pledge. Aboite New Trails is thrilled to announce that Vera Bradley has pledged $300,000 to finish Make the Connection, a regional trail-building initiative to complete a 50-mile trail corridor across Fort Wayne.
Make the Connection includes 3.5 miles of trails along Homestead and Covington Roads, and the Towpath Trail. This pledge makes Vera Bradley the single largest corporate donor for area trails and places them at the Trailblazer donor level, providing them with naming rights of the Covington Trail, a major trail artery in the developing regional trail system.
"From its unmatched community involvement at all levels, to its dedication to finding a cure for breast cancer, Vera Bradley has never strayed from its commitment to this community and the health and wellness of its citizens," said Lynn Reecer, president, Aboite New Trails. "By finishing Make the Connection, Vera Bradley is able to leave a tangible legacy for generations to come, improving the health, wellness and overall quality of life for EVERYONE in this area."
"We love the idea of connecting all of Fort Wayne to a better quality of life," said Pat Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley. "This one-time opportunity to finish a regional trail corridor that at once improves health, safety, economic development and community vibrancy was one we couldn't pass up, especially given the permanency of it. We know that everyone will be positively impacted, and for generations to come."
Make the Connection timing. With the initial installment of Vera Bradley's donation, trail design and engineering for the Make the Connection trail sections are underway, and construction is scheduled to begin later this spring, 2010. Upon completion of Make the Connection, hundreds of thousands of area residents and visitors will at once be connected to a 50-mile trail corridor across Fort Wayne, including dozens of population pockets that previously weren't connected to the benefits of trails. Those benefits include free, safe and convenient transportation and recreation options that can simultaneously improve health and wellness, foster social connections, connect neighbors with destinations and with each other, improve pedestrian safety, reduce harmful omissions and traffic congestion, and improve overall community quality of life.
Aboite New Trails began its Make the Connection initiative in 2008 when Indiana's News Center and Oprah's Big Give helped to launch a fundraising effort for the developing regional trail system. The City of Fort Wayne, Indiana's News Center, area trail partners and ANT developed Fort Wayne Trails branding and mission as a collaborative effort to connect the region via multi-use trails. Over $1.1 million was raised for the Towpath Trail, other regional trail building efforts, and advocacy for a safer and connected Fort Wayne during Fort Wayne's Big Give.
To our future donors: We still need you. After completing the backbone of the regional Fort Wayne Trails network, Aboite New Trails will continue its fundraising and trail-building efforts to connect more people with more places.
For more information and to stay up to date on trail projects, visit us at www.aboitenewtrails.org.