Mike Buhrt, chairman of the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee, announced a local family has come forward willing to hire a director for the trail system for two years. The announcement was made during the trail committee’s regular monthly meeting Monday night. Buhrt explained a sub-committee of the trail committee met and created a job description. The goal is to have a director hired by August.
Buhrt said it is hoped with the hiring of a director, the committee will be able to put trail down faster. Some details, such as where the director’s office will be located, are still being worked out.
Pointing out communities around Syracuse that have trail systems have professional staff working on raising funds for them, Buhrt said, “As the trail system gets bigger we need professional help and we have to pay for it.” Kay Young and Sam Leman, committee members, explained part of the job description is the director will have to be self-funding after the first two years.
Marsha Carey, the committee’s grant writer, renewed her contract for another year. She reviewed grants pursued during the past year. Since Carey came on board, $70,000 in grants, there were eight foundations where grant applications were submitted and no response, three grants applications are currently pending and there are several prospects for the next year.
Kosciusko County Administrator Ron Robinson will be making a presentation to the Indiana Department of Transportation regarding a grant. Carey made several suggestions as to what information should be included in the presentation.
In trail maintenance, Bob Trame updated the committee on the Mudd Lake and Cornelius Road sections of the trail. He is working on removing old stumps and seeing about removing an old fence.
Eric Leffler and Jerry Wright reported they drove around the completed portions of the trail to see where signage should be placed. After discussion it was decided to set aside $3,000 to be split for safety signs and recognition signs for those who have helped on the trail.
In trail updates, Buhrt reported the Syracuse Lake trail should be completed by the end of May or first part of June depending on the weather.
Buhrt has been in communication with residents in the Vawter Park area. Time will be spent educating residents about what ideas the trail committee has and what is possible before any decisions are made. He noted there is a lot of support in that area for a trail section to be installed.
Young is still working on getting a feasibility study for the southeast side of Lake Wawasee.
Donn Baird, treasurer, checked into having utility boxes moved on Eli Lilly Road so the trail can be made wider. The cost will be $2,000 to $3,000 each and easements would be needed from property owners to move the boxes onto their property to make enough room.
A new pedestrian bridge is going in on Harkless Drive. Buhrt noted there is trail running from Miller’s Merry Manor to Oakwood, as town sidewalk. He suggested the committee look at extending the trail past the Frog Tavern to SR 13 in the future.