Trails in Indiana

Mayor Ballard and Donald Colvin anticipate what Indianapolis will look like in 2015

 At the opening of the south extension of the White River Trail (Wapahani Trail) we had exciting news from Greg Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis; and Donald Colvin, Deputy Director of Indy Parks, about the development of the trail system in Indianapolis. 

To reach his goal of 200 miles of lanes and trails crossing the city, Mayor Ballard is focusing his efforts for 2015 on connecting the most important trails in town to bring together many communities. A highlight of the plan is Eagle Creek Trail on the west side of the city where a Phased Engineering Study is being completed for the construction of the 11 mile extension of the trail going south from 46th Street to Raymond Street. Learn all the details in these interviews.

Over the last two decades, Don Colvin, Deputy Director of Indy Parks, and the team of Indy Parks has worked very hard to create a world–class park system in Indianapolis. Their achievements have included several national awards from the National Park and Recreation Association (NRPA), the inclusion of the Monon Rail Trail in the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Hall of Fame, the designation of four greenway trails as National Recreation Trails, and the declaration of the Indianapolis Park and Boulevard System as a nationally significant historic district by the National Park Service.

The realization of these achievements did not come without dialog, cooperation, sources of funding, and a shared public/government vision of what is best for the “Good of All.” However, the challenge of these achievements and those of the last 100 years has always been the singular struggle of the Indianapolis Park & Recreation Departments. The department vied for dollars and resources, recognition and support within a city government structure that forced competition rather than cooperation between departments.

Within the last two years, that government structure has changed to allow a more efficient use of dollars and manpower. While recreation, programming and events have been preserved within the department; the vision, design, construction and maintenance of existing and future parklands including trails and greenways has been rolled into the Department of Public Works.

Don speaks of the benefits and challenges of this new government structure. In addition, while it is too early to assess the value and woes of the restructuring, a clear win for the “Good of All” has been realized. Not since the days of George Kessler in the 1910s has there been so many active development/construction projects on greenways and trails going on at one time. They include extensions of the Eagle Creek, Fall Creek, Pennsy and White River Trails. If you are not sure about the uniqueness of this precedent, ask Don, he would know.