Rocks, Rivers and Revitalization: The Milwaukee Road Rail Trail Comes to Bedford, Indiana
The City of Bedford, Indiana gasped when The Indiana Rail Road Company decided to stop rail service and take up the tracks, severing the city’s connection to Terre Haute, IN; Illinois and Chicago. But at the same time, the Indiana Trails Fund, Inc. (ITF) thought this rail corridor had potential; HUGE potential. So much so that they signed a 25-year lease with The Indiana Rail Road Company in 2010 to develop a 19 mile non-motorized transportation/recreation trail along the corridor.
• ITF saw the ECONOMIC, SOCIAL; HEALTH, TRANSPORTATION and RECREATIONAL benefits of developing this trail that would in many ways surpass the rail benefits.
• ITF saw a REVITALIZED Bedford, Indiana where children could walk or bicycle to school without having to cross a major highway.
• They saw people, and more people, and families and buddies, and BFFs and EVERYONE walking and biking, talking, meeting, socializing, smiling, and growing community.
• And they saw independent shops, restaurants, boutiques, ICE CREAM carts, trendy and good ‘ole shops springing up along or as a result the trail.
• ITF saw a FIT and FITTER population easily managing their diabetes and obesity and general health.
• And they saw people RE-CREATING in the true sentence; refreshing, revitalizing; re-creating their selves; much more ready to face the daily stress of everyday, and the larger challenges of not so everyday life.
• ITF also saw NEW PEOPLE from across the region and country; first-timers and old-timers; coming to experience the trail as a unique destination “like no other place in the world.”
• They saw long-distance bicyclists travelling the corridor on their multi-state journeys, staying in Bedford, Bloomington, Spring Mill State Park or the resurrected campsite at Williams on the East Fork of the White River; spending MONEY here in the state, the county and the city; spreading the word about this awesome place. Come one; come all!
• And they saw Bedford, Lawrence and Martin County enabled to attract and keep residents of the next generation for economic stability by being able to brag about the EXCELLENT quality of life they could find here.
Mayor Shawna Girgis and the City of Bedford, Indiana saw the same VISION!