By Liz Shepherd
ETNA GREEN — The Etna Green Council focused on town betterment during its May 11 meeting through talking with an engineering firm about a proposed walking trail and donating to several local organizations.
Ben Beer, vice-president of sales at USI Consultants Inc., was present at the meeting to discuss the town’s plans to create a walking trail at Heritage Park. USI Consultants Inc. is an engineering firm based out of Indianapolis. The firm is working with the towns of Milford, North Webster and Syracuse on trail feasibility studies.
In September 2019, the K21 Health Foundation made a commitment of $1.8 million to be distributed to nine small communities in Kosciusko County, including Etna Green. The money must be used for projects that will focus on health and wellness opportunities in the community.
Etna Green has a $200,000 pledge from K21 to use. The idea of creating a walking trail for the town’s citizens has been frequently mentioned in the council’s discussions on how to use the pledge.
Council Member Jason Hanes said the Lions Club of Etna Green and the town’s museum are working with the town on the project.
Beer said USI Consultants would be working with Etna Green on creating a feasibility study and engineering assessment on what the Heritage Park trail would look like. The project would also include new sidewalks in the areas of Main and High Streets.
“The idea behind these assessments is to give you a very good idea of how to best use that money, whether you want to simply do it with local money or leverage that toward other grant funds,” said Beer.
Beer said a proposal and draft agreement includes information on right-of-way, environmental evaluation, utility coordination and recommended alignment on where the trail would go and how it would be constructed. The town would have to pay a $5,000 lump sum for the engineering assessment to be completed.
Hanes said he would get a copy of the proposal and draft agreement to council members Susan Klinefelter and Keith Claassen and that the matter would be voted on at the council’s June meeting.
Council also donated to local organizations for town events and betterment. Etna Green’s council moved to donate $250 to the annual Randy Miner Memorial Country Run, which will take place Saturday, June 12. During that weekend, there will be town-wide garage sales, as well as a Nelson’s chicken and pork chop fundraiser for the Lions Club of Etna Green. The fundraiser will start at 11 a.m. June 12 until sold out.
The town donated $200 toward fireworks for this year’s Fourth of July event. Etna Green’s Fourth of July parade will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 3.
Etna Green also donated $500 toward flowers and plant maintenance at Remembrance Park.
In other business, the council discussed concerns with chickens running loose on the west side of town.
Clerk-Treasurer Patti Cook said she has called the chickens’ owner and sent a note instructing them to get a permit containing rules and regulations. She said the birds are entering an adjacent property and damaging landscaping.
Town Attorney Jay Rigdon said even if the owner did have a permit to keep the chickens, letting the birds run at-large in town is still in violation of a local ordinance. He recommended interested persons compile photos of the chickens off of the owner’s property as documentation.
The council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8.