The Speedway Trail Corridor, a new recreational area in the town of Speedway, was dedicated in a ceremony led by Gov. Mike Pence today, the day before the country celebrates National Trails Day, June 7.
After the ceremony, Pence led attendees in “Walk a Mile with Mike” on the trail.
“It is really a joy to be with all of you today and to celebrate and dedicate this important contribution to the trails of Indiana,” Pence said. “We actually have, in total numbers, 3,000 miles of trails all across the state of Indiana, and today is making a significant contribution to that.”
The trail covers 1.3 miles running northwest from the corner of 16th Street and Crawfordsville Road along the south side of Crawfordsville Road (also Hulman Memorial Way) and ends near the intersection with Cunningham Drive.
Pence said the state hopes to have a trail within 5 miles of every Hoosier, and that Indiana already is more than 90 percent of the way toward meeting that goal.
A recent redevelopment of Speedway’s Main Street included a separate bike path, which will connect with the new trail. Combined with the planned extensions of the B&O Trail and the Eagle Creek Trail, this corridor would help create a 5-mile trail loop through Speedway.
"Expanding trails and recreational opportunities in Indiana is a great way to celebrate 200 years of statehood," said Becky Skillman, co-chair of the 2016 Bicentennial Commission and former lieutenant governor. “We look forward to many more celebrations like today’s as we build toward 2016.”
The Speedway Trail Association took title to the property in a transaction that closed in April. The Department of Natural Resources holds a conservation easement ensuring public access and permanent protection.
"We are so thankful to the many friends and partners that helped make this day a reality," said Beverly Katterhenry of the Speedway Trails Association. "We know this trail will be an incredible resource for the Speedway community."
The 7.9 acres of land for the trail was acquired with funds from the Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT), Indiana Heritage Trust, Speedway Redevelopment Commission, and a charitable bargain sale of land. Formerly the Peoria and Eastern Railroad, the area was abandoned by Conrail in the 1980s. The federal Recreational Trails Program administered by DNR has committed $150,000 to complete development of the trail.
Beverly Katterhenry talks about 4th Annual Fundraiser Event in Speedway Indiana
Richard Vonnegut interviewed Beverly Katterhenry, President of the Speedway Trails association.
[Richard] I'm going to talk about the Speedway trail Association with Beverly Katterhenry.
How unique is Speedway?
[Beverly] Speedway is very unique in that very few towns anywhere have 2 abandoned rail roads within a short distance each other, at the angle that they have that we can connect them. So when our trail is finished you can start on Main Street in Speedway, follow Main Street to the B&O right of way, take the B&O to Eagle Creek. From Eagle Creek on the bluff of the levee, go over Interstate 65 and then take the old Peoria Eastern railroad right of way back to Main Street, and it’s about five miles. It'll be about a five mile circle within the town of Speedway.
[Richard] This year the Diamond in the Rough fundraiser will offer a four and a half mile ride now with this extension (to Main Street), and there is about a three and a half and five mile route.
[Beverly] Four and a half miles. We cannot go to 465, not just yet because they are working on it.
[Richard] But, stil,l there’s going to be the 2 distances and this it will be the first year with 2 distances for the walk, run, and bike.
[Beverly] And that's because the Speedway Redevelopment Commission just finished Main Street. We have a bike pathway on Main Street and a large sidewalk. Now we can use Main Street and we want to show the importance of bike paths to our neighbors.
[Richard] We should explain that the Diamond in Rough trail is roughly shaped like a diamond and has been in a rough condition.
[Beverly] Once the B&O hits Eagle Creek it follows Eagle Creek trail on top of the levee. At 21st Street goes down to creek level, pretty much creek level, and goes underneath the 21st Street Bridge. It is pretty much overgrown. We cleared some and we got enough room for people to go through.
[Richard] Then the path goes up on to the Old Peoria Eastern right of way near Marsh, turns on in clockwise manner, turns East and follows Crawfordsville Road all the way over 16th Street and Main Street, and then follows Main Street to the B&O where the Zip Company has been, and then follows the B&O back.
[Beverly] It’s rough! We can’t call it a race. It's not a timed event. It's a casual family get together to bike ride, or walk or run. So we really couldn't advertise it as a race because we were concerned people getting hurt. It’s a casual event where people can take their time and it's less likely to get hurt. So, until we get it paved it's going to be a rough path and not all of advertising.
[Richard] The Diamond in the rough began in 2008, so this it will be the fourth year. But 2008 and 9 were stand alone events.
[Beverly] I think only 2008 was a standalone event. And we decided that we didn’t like it, being by ourselves and nothing to do after. Three hundred and sixty people come out for an hour long event. We wanted to give them more.
I asked the Speedway Chamber of Commerce, Connie Harris was President, and they donated some money to trails.They saw how important it was that we were doing, and I said,' Connie: we appreciate your money, we want to do an event, but do you have anything you want to do? Is there something you're looking to do or something you'd like to do that we can combine our efforts on?' She came up with this idea. Yeah, we want have a chili cook off, we just don't know when or where. And so I suggested we are going to do our event in fall, September, instead of spring and let's bring together the 2 ideas. Connie agreed to put the two events, Diamond in the Rough and the chili cook off together as one big event. She came up with the idea of the Corn Hole contest and things for kids, because we needed a little time between the 2 events, but also things for people to do between the two events. So we invented little things for kids to do, games and stuff .
At that time Barbara Lawrence, the Speedway Town manager said:' The Lion’s Club wants a parade; do you think we may have a parade that day also?'
More the merrier, as far as I am concerned, the more people they know about it… You know this is an awareness, it started off as an awareness campaign: it wasn't about money, it was about letting people know what's available or what was possible. So that's when they decided to have the parade. So this, the 2011, is the fourth year for Speedway Trails and the third year for the parade.
[Richard] What have you found out about trails? You must have gone out visit some trails in other parts of the state, or you have read about or have other people told you stories.? What are some of the things now over the past four years you have learned about trails you didn’t know.
[Beverly] My son lives in DC, in Vienna, and they have the WO&D.
[Richard] The Washington Old Dominion Railroad.
[Beverly] Yes! And right there in Vienna, where he lives, they had the 200 years anniversary, and they built a park along the trails, and they have historic buildings, and I have been there taking pictures, walked it, and I got ideas how we can do ours. Talking with Scott Irenson(?) redevelopment commission in building between Main Street and Poco asked us what the trail wants and one of our members mentioned restrooms and water. Scott thought it was a pretty awesome idea, so I have shown the pictures of the WO&D in Vienna where they have restrooms,a stage and, they have a caboose. It is a really neat park and what can be for the Main Street and the B&O in Speedway.
We decided that the Speedway trail has to be paved, we want it accessible and usable by wheelchairs and baby carriages. So we want everybody able to get on the trail and we felt like had to be paved in order for baby carriages and wheelchairs to get on it. There is a big diverse group here in Speedway, there are a lot of babies, in my church there are a lot of babies. And also we have the retired people too.
[Richard] At some point you think about funding, so, besides having a P.R. event and getting some small funds from there, you are thinking of the larger trail system and how it gets funded. Explain the development steps that you have gone through to develop the funding mechanism.
[Beverly] Back to my hand drawn map, and it had a lot of possibilities on it, I went to Green 3, a company that develops trails, and I said: We need money! Can you helps and tell us what’s out there? She, Dawn, from Green3, came out and walked the trail with me and saw what we had available. After that she went back to Bob Bronson,a chief of the DNR, and said you wont believe what I have just found. She was really excited. They had a recreational trails grant. We got our first grant, Dawn with Green 3 got the RTP grant fo us.
[Richard] And that grant will do what over what distance?
[Beverly] It will do 1 mile and a fourth, paved in hard asphalt.
[Richard] Not ground up asphalt.
[Beverly] No it will be paved in hard asphalt from Mail Street; we have to work out on the details with the redevelopment commission all the way up to the store section.
[Richard] You made some money, but I take it that money is only a part. It is the public relations of getting there, of getting the idea of the B&O is a trail and the Peoria Eastern. Over the past four years what have you seen as results as public relations?
[Beverly] It’s turning positive; very, very few people are against trails, very few people don't want them in Speedway. The Speedway redevelopment commission is redeveloping our town and bringing new life to the industrial parks and the town of Speedway. Most people can see now that trailsare a benefi to the town, benefit for business, benefit for health, benefit for your neighbors, recreational. Most people brought in the last 3 years of the awareness of trails and the importance of trails, in Speedway, it is just amazing. Before, most people didn’t care, didn’t know. So they didn’t care. They didn’t know this trail was here so they didn’t care much about trails. The closest one was in downtown and they didn’t care that much going to that area.
[Richard] Wow, clearly your plate is full for the next couple of years.
[Beverly] Speedway is unique, how many towns have two abandoned railroads and two trails that are Indiana future planned trails?It is very rare that you have that many trails in one small area.