Countywide trail plan to be finalized by month's end

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — A final draft of the countywide bike and pedestrian master plan will be complete and shown to the public by the end of June, said Ron Taylor, president of Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group.

A steering committee including representatives from Jasper, Huntingburg and Ferdinand has been working with Taylor Siefker Williams Design Group and VS Engineering to create the plan, which will identify where trails can be placed to connect communities by foot or bicycle.

Originally, the final draft was set to be presented at a public meeting at Old Town Hall in Huntingburg Wednesday evening. Instead, Taylor restated information about the plan, which was first presented at a public meeting in early May, and gave attendees another chance to voice their suggestions. About two dozen people attended the Wednesday meeting.

“The plan is not done, so there is still time to comment via feedback,” Taylor said. “Did we make the right connections? Did we miss something? We want to know.”

Several attendees had questions regarding the plan following Taylor’s presentation.

One asked if there are any plans to connect paths to surrounding counties. Taylor said he didn’t know of any concrete plans but that some counties, such as Orange County, were talking about potential connecting trails. The group will, however, try to connect trails to landmarks in other counties, such as the Hoosier National Forest.

“Dubois County can only make decisions for Dubois County,” he said.

Another person asked if any of the trails or routes will connect to existing facilities, such as the Parklands in Jasper. Taylor said that some paths may connect to existing facilities, but only at the two ends, and the existing trails will still be the responsibility of the city.

Taylor explained at May’s meeting that there are three potential methods that could expand routes in the county: creating bike lanes along highways, creating bike and pedestrian routes on roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or slower, and building new shared-use paths that are separated from roads.

If shared-use paths are built, connections could be between Huntingburg and Jasper, between Jasper and Ireland, between Ferdinand and Huntingburg, to the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds, to Ferdinand State Forest or to Patoka Lake.

Some minor changes have been made to some of the routes since the first public meeting in May to adjust for public feedback.

Those who could not attend the meeting Wednesday are still welcome to send feedback at https://tswdesign.mysocialpinpoint.com/dubois-county, where additional information about the plan, including an interactive map, can be found. Huntingburg Mayor Steve Schwinghamer said at the meeting Wednesday that the Huntingburg City Hall will also accept written feedback that anyone wishes to drop off.

After the final draft is complete, Taylor said the group hopes to move forward with the adoption process in July. The plan will also be released to the public at this time.




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