By Phoebe Muthart
SYRACUSE — Syracuse-Wawasee Trails Committee conducted a virtual Zoom meeting Monday night, May 18.
An update on the new Conklin Bay project was given. Selge Construction completed the project last Wednesday, May 13. A final walk-through was last Friday, May 15, and went well with minor issues to address.
Erlene Yentes, trails’ executive director, is working with Heather Harwood, executive director of Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, on finalizing quotes for a donor wall and an arched sign. A list of naming /donor opportunities for Conklin Bay is being finalized. To learn more about these opportunities, reach out to any committee member or call the trails’ office at (574) 675-6433.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new project will be sometime after July 4. The committee is working on an invitation list that will include all donors, current and past committee members, contractors, state, county and local leaders and agencies. According to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s website, request for him to attend events needs to be made 60 to 90 days in advance.
Members of the committee have been in contact with representatives from Next Level Trails during this project. Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee received more than $1 million from next Level Trails in May 2019. The Conklin Bay project will add approximately 1.37 miles to the 11-mile trail system.
In other news, a major overhaul of the trails’ website is in the works. Angie Racolta and Yentes met with Benson Communications to discuss developing a template for the website with more options to give, one that is more modern and interactive.
Racolta showed committee members the Fort Wayne trails’ website. On its website, there are four categories with different ways to give: either a one time gift, a “trail blazer” recurring donation, special initiatives or a donation restricted to a certain project.
Donor recognition with sponsorship opportunities, such as pavers and bike racks, were noted, as well as a special initiative for donations to a specific project.
“We want it to be more fresh and more inviting,” said Racolta.
The committee discussed adding an adopt-a-trail and volunteer sections on its website. There will be two to three people who will have access to making changes and adding pictures, such as Yentes, Racolta and a volunteer. Benson Communications will provide a training session as the project moves forward. No timelines have been established yet.
The financial report for April was discussed. Final costs and payments for the Conklin Bay project were also discussed.
Two fundraising events are still happening. A car show is Aug. 2 at Oakwood Resort and Tails and Trails is Oct. 24.
Kudos was given to Bob Smith for being the project manager for Conklin Bay and “for countless hours adapting to problems, changes and for helping create a wonderful boardwalk and trail.”
The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, June 15.