SYRACUSE — Syracuse-Wawasee Trails Committee Executive Director Megan McClellan announced her resignation Wednesday, May 29, after serving nearly five years. She has accepted a job as Fort Wayne Trails director starting in June.
Coinciding with McClellan’s departure is the groundbreaking ceremony for the Conklin Bay trail, a project she worked on for much of her time at SWTC. The ceremony has been set for noon Monday, June 10, at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation sign just north of its education center, 11586 SR 13, Syracuse.
Those expected to attend include Cameron Clark, director of Indiana Department of Natural Resources, SWTC members and McClellan, who will return for the ceremony.
Recently, SWTC and the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation received a DNR grant for the Conklin Bay project of $1,018,267. The project was one of only 17 to receive grants out of 82 applicants statewide and received a gold standard rating. It was also one of only seven “locally significant” projects on the DNR website.
Selge Construction was chosen to perform the work after its bid of $2,100,000 was accepted.
The project will be overseen by Earth Source, a Fort Wayne firm. A total of $56,800 has been budgeted for Earth Source’s services; however, McClellan informed the committee the amount “could go up or down” depending on how much construction experience the next SWTC director has and how quickly he or she is hired.
“I feel confident you’ll carry on until a new director is here,” said McClellan, noting the members’ experience and the fact they “did a great job before I got here.”
Among those helping with the transition are Angie Racolta, who was named the May volunteer of the month. McClellan also confirmed she would be available to help with the transition and provided day-to-day task lists and a copy of the 2016 list of objectives as a guide for possible future projects.
“It’s sad for us but good for them,” commented Kay Young, committee president, of McClellan’s departure to Fort Wayne.
The committee is also preparing for other upcoming events. According to McClellan, 81 people have registered for Tour des Lakes Saturday, July 20, a scenic bicycle tour of 25, 50 or 100 kilometers.
Other community engagement opportunities are Couch to 5K runs 5 p.m. every Wednesday through July 4 at the Syracuse Community Center; Walk with Yoga at 9 a.m. every Thursday at Syracuse Public Library; an invitation-only social will take place in Vawter Park from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 21.
The trails committee is also looking for individuals to help clean sections of the trails by volunteering to drive a Gator equipped with a brush. Chad Jonsson, Syracuse Parks superintendent, will also be available to help train anyone without experience on a Gator. “It really helps the trails a lot,” said McClellan.
To volunteer, send an email to [email protected]