ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: A TRAIL OF THREE CITIES
HRTC Vice Chairman (left) leads discussion on connectivity.
Lori Feldbauer, business development manager of the local phone company called us together.
At the community center in Newpoint, Indiana, representatives met to discuss developing bicycle routes connecting Batesville and Greensburg, Indiana.
Hopes have been raised to develop routes that could factor in to bringing in bike touring dollars to the communities, including Newpoint, Indiana in between the two larger cities.
Property tax caps have helped stabilize home ownership for the economically besieged, but have caused the incremental funds going to local communities to dry up.
Paralleling the weather, communities seek relief from this economic drought.
How about a bike path? Indiana offers quaint small towns that offer Hoosier hospitality and plenty of local flavor and scenery. By creating recreational reasons to visit or stay for a while, bike paths connecting these towns and, perhaps, to other towns in the area, could provide some added tourist revenue to the coffers.
Hoosier Rails to Trails Council Vice Chairman Richard Vonnegut and staffer Mario Vian along with HRTC volunteers Jim and Tanya Garlits from Shelbyville came to contribute their expertise in effecting bicycling enhancements in their community.
Mayor Herbert (left) and County Officials
Mayor Gary Herbert of Greensburg appeared concerned at the shrinking economy and how it affected his community. Planners and economic development staff and county officials from Batesville and Greensburg and their respective counties, Ripley and Decatur, also attended.
Discussing the development of on road and possibly an off road built pathway along the railroad right of way paralleling Indiana Highway 46 became lively.
Noting that railroads notoriously eschew trail amenities, Vonnegut advocated for an on road bike pathway designation. HRTC Policy Analyst Mario Vian noted that designation of a bike path could prime future funding possibilities if added to the Local Planning Agency transportation plans for the future.
The discussed pathway would thread through Ripley, Franklin and Decatur Counties and could connect with trails already established within Batesville, Newpoint , and Greensburg. Newpoint has an unnamed loop around town. Greensburg has a two mile route connecting the library, park, public grade and high schools, finishing in residential and a nearly completed senior housing unit.
Piecing together the puzzle
Batesville has an approximately 1.9 mile trail system developed by local mountain bikers that winds through Baun Woods and goes around the east side of Batesville and the sports complex.
From Batesville a proposed cross-county bicycle route utilizes CR 900 S in Ripley County and would travel north to New Point and follow Indiana 46 to Greeensburg.
Roads that connect to destinations have purpose and a bit of romance as all the named towns have businesses, features and folks that make visiting interesting and offer plenty of scenery along the way, besides.
Article and Photos by Mario Vian.