The Fort Wayne area is nearing 100 miles of trail connectivity, city officials announced Tuesday.
Standing on the newly completed trail outside the McDonald's restaurant at U.S. 27 and South Anthony Boulevard on Fort Wayne's southeast side, Mayor Tom Henry lauded the project as a step toward increased connectivity throughout Fort Wayne and Allen County.
The new trail development consisted of a $1.6 million investment from INDOT and the Northeast Indiana Regional Coordinating Council through the Federal Highway Administration. The city of Fort Wayne contributed $270,000, and Fort Wayne Trails Inc. contributed $100,000.
“This really is a great first step in making sure that we have the best trail system we could possibly have,” Henry said. “Most of you know that we are fast approaching 100 miles worth of trails, and I think that's quite an accomplishment for our city over the past decade or so.”
The Six Mile Creek Trail is part of what will become a 26-mile continuous loop that links the new trail to New Haven and the Fort Wayne Rivergreenway.
Henry was joined by Fort Wayne and New Haven city officials, as well as state Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, McDonald's franchise owner Ted Williams and various neighborhood and trail advocates.
The portion of trail celebrated Tuesday marks 98.7 total trail miles in the Fort Wayne area. The city is on pace to reach 100 total miles in November.
Continuing to build trails is important to make Fort Wayne a more livable city, said City Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th.
“I think the trails allow individuals to get out and exercise and have fun and live long, healthy lives,” Hines said. “We're really glad that the south-side portion is being completed.”
The Six Mile Creek Trail connects more than 22,000 residents to more than 80 businesses and the Rivergreenway, said Dawn Ritchie, Fort Wayne's greenways and trails manager.
To commemorate reaching 100 miles of trials, the city is launching a new social media campaign, Ritchie said. Residents are encouraged to share photos and memories using the trail network from the 1970s to now. Photos or short written memories can be posted to the Facebook pages for the city of Fort Wayne or Fort Wayne Trails Inc. using the hashtag #fwtrails100.
Submitted items will be entered into a drawing held as the city reaches its 100th trail mile. Prizes include T-shirts, dinner or tickets for various events.
To complement the city's celebration, Fort Wayne Trails Inc. is holding a 100-mile fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $100,000 by year's end to support future trail projects, said Kent Castleman, the organization's executive director. More information about the campaign can be found at www.fwtrails.org.
The Fort Wayne area's trail system is expected to reach 100 miles by November. These trails are under construction:
• Bluffton Road Trail from Lower Huntington Road to West Foster Park
• Gump Road Trail from Old Lima Road to west of Coldwater
• Hanna Street Trail from Burns to U.S. 27
• Pufferbelly Trail from State Boulevard to Fernhill Avenue and Franke Park
• Pufferbelly from Wallen to Ludwig roads
• Rivergreenway south of California Road to St. Joe Center Road
Source: City of Fort Wayne