Trail portion to stretch from Riverwalk to Buffalo TraceMarch 22, 2018
By LEANN BURKE
JASPER — A new section of multi-use trail could be under construction in 2019.
The City of Jasper is working on plans to complete a portion of the multi-use trail on the city’s north side.
The full trail will connect the 15th Street Riverwalk entrance to the existing path on St. Charles Street; however, the portion currently in the planning stages will start at the Riverwalk on 15th Street and end on the north side of Buffalo Trace Golf Course.
City Engineer Chad Hurm said his department is about 75 percent through the planning.
Right now, the city is working with property owners along the pathway to acquire additional right of way or public easements for the project.
“We have several property owners where we need to get a corner of a property or a strip,” Hurm said. “Mostly along Cathy Lane and Kellerville Road.”
The process of acquiring the additional property can be lengthy. The city must get appraisals for the pieces it needs before it can make any purchases. If property owners disagree with the city’s appraisals, they can solicit their own. From there, negotiations occur.
Hurm expects the process to stretch through this summer and possibly into fall.
The current timeline has the project going to bid in the spring of 2019, about a year from now.
The project has been on the city’s radar for several years. The full trail will run along Northwood Avenue, cross Newton Street and continue on 30th Street to Cathy Lane. It will then wrap around properties — a string of businesses — on the east side of Cathy Lane, possibly behind some of the businesses there, crossing Kellerville Road to reach 15th Street and link to the Riverwalk.
In 2014, the city was awarded a $2 million grant — which the city must match at 20 percent, or about $400,000 — from the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Local Public Agency program to help with the costs, but the funds were not dispensed until 2017 due to funding constraints at the state level.
The city will use economic development income tax funds to cover its portion of the project.
The grant from INDOT will not cover the full trail design, Hurm said. Still, the city decided to move ahead with the project and complete a portion of the proposed path.
The rest will be completed when funding becomes available.
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