The Journal Gazette
Saturday, July 20, 2019 1:00 am

Pufferbelly gets $3.3 million to grow 4.33 miles


A nearly $3.3 million state grant will allow the beginning stages of a Pufferbelly Trail extension in northern Allen County.

The Allen County Commissioners on Friday agreed to accept the money.

The trail extension would stretch 4.33 miles from a trailhead near Lifebridge Church at Union Chapel and Corbin roads in Perry Township to Fitch Road, south of the Allen-DeKalb county line.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources grant will pay for engineering studies and right-of-way acquisition for the trail, said Chris Cloud, chief of staff for the commissioners.

The trail is part of the connector to the Poka-Bache Trail, which will link Pokagon State Park in Steuben County to Ouabache State Park in Wells County.

Contracts are expected to be awarded late this year or early in 2020, Cloud said.

The commissioners also approved an update to the agreement they have with Fort Wayne for Animal Care and Control services. The new agreement will cost approximately $155,000 to $170,000 annually, Cloud said.

The county is moving from a flat fee for all services that was about $98,000 to paying a flat fee for some services and a per-service charge for others.

“This is a new model of paying,” Cloud said. 

The county agreed to a new flat fee of $75,000 fee for sheltering animals turned in by county sheriffs and rabies investigations. When a county resident turns in a stray animal to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, the fee to the county will be $15 a day.

However, if the owner can be found and claims the animal, the owner will pay the fee.

Being able to trace owners has become more common as animals now are often microchipped with owner information.

The new agreement also will apply to incorporated communities in Allen County outside Fort Wayne such as New Haven as well as unincorporated areas of the county, Cloud said.

In other business, the commissioners approved the appointment of Kim Wagner to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority and thanked Ben Johnston for his long service. Wagner is an aide to the chancellor of Purdue University Fort Wayne.

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