Philip Beer with USI Consultants presented two options to the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee Monday in regards to placing a trail along SR 13 between Harkless and Waco drives.
The first option would be to widen both shoulders by 10 feet and would require the right of way acquisition of 39 parcels, plus the installation of crosswalks on either side of the trail. The total cost would be more than $2.3 million, largely because of the need to acquire so many rights of way.
Even though Federal highway dollars could be sought for project, committee members thought this option was unlikely due to the need for two crosswalks, which sparked several safety concerns.
The second option, an 8-foot minimum multi-use path, would follow the same route between Harkless and Waco but would only be on the east side of SR 13, inside the curb prior to entering Syracuse. This option would only require the acquisition of rights of way from seven parcels for a total project cost of more than $1 million.
Beer noted the challenge of option two would be to maintain roadway drainage. He noted the Indiana Department of Transportation is willing to work with the committee, but there are a lot of sticking points with the nearby wetland and clearance challenges.
Along with selecting the second option as the most likely, members decided to start seeking Federal highway dollars that could potentially fund 80 percent of the project by first selecting a member of their committee to take Employee in Responsible Charge training.
ERC training takes eight hours and educates participants on the process of applying for Federal funds and using those funds. Members voted to ask Marsha Carey if she would take the ERC training.
The Vawter Park area survey determined a trail might be possible in the area. Chairman Mike Buhrt noted the commission has no plans yet to place a trail along Vawter Park Road, however, they are looking into the possibilities due to area interest and safety concerns.
To explore that possibility, the committee needs to contact the county attorney and surveyor to determine what is the county’s right of way and what is privately owned prior to approaching property owners about a potential trail.
Syracuse resident John Heckaman expressed concerns about the potential trail along Vawter Park Road, noting a lot would need removed to place one. Buhrt noted the committee was just trying to do something positive in the community without making a lot of people mad.
In other Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee news:
- The committee is still investigating the cause of the warping of the boardwalk along Pickwick and North East Shore drives.
- The Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary Club will be cleaning its portion of the trail Sept. 27.
Next trail committee meeting will be 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, at the Syracuse Community Center.
(For a more in-depth account of the meeting, see today’s issue of The Mail-Journal.)