Holcomb Announces New Round Of Trail Grants, Helps Open Elkhart’s River Greenway Trail
ELKHART — Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced Thursday, May 11, details for the fourth round of the Next Level Trails grant program, which will dedicate an additional $30 million to connect communities through more hiking, biking and riding trails across the state.
As part of the governor’s Next Level Connections initiative, Next Level Trails is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history. The now $180 million program is administered by the state’s Department of Natural Resources and facilitates critical trail connections within and between Hoosier communities. To date, Next Level Trails has awarded $150 million to 75 projects across the state.
The fourth round will award up to $22.5 million to regional projects and up to $7.5 million to local projects. The application period for the fourth round begins July 1 and ends Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT.) Eligible applicants include units of government or 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Applicants are limited to one application per round.
“Through the largest infusion of trail funding in Hoosier history, Indiana’s Next Level Trails are connecting Hoosiers and our communities to each other and the great outdoors like never before,” said Holcomb. “With this next round of trails investments, we’ll continue Indiana’s momentum as a nationally recognized trail leader, building new connections across the state.”
In addition to the major announcement, Holcomb joined officials from Elkhart to celebrate the opening of the River Greenway Trail. The 1.86-mile asphalt trail was built with help from a $642,600 Next Level Trails grant awarded in 2021 as part of the second round of trails grant funding.
The new paved trail follows the Elkhart River and connects to the existing Mapleheart Greenway at Hively Avenue to create a contiguous link between Elkhart and the city of Goshen. The project also creates a connection between the Elkhart Environmental Center, Studebaker Park, Mary Beck Elementary School and Elkhart High School. Key partners include the City of Elkhart Redevelopment Commission, Elkhart Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Elkhart County Community Foundation.
“We are very lucky to have a community that values trails and recognizes their importance not just for recreation but also for transportation,” said Rod Roberson, Elkhart’s mayor. “Trails are vital connectors for our residents to enjoy and for our commuters to get to work. The River Greenway Trail is a gorgeous addition to Elkhart County’s trail system, and we couldn’t have done it without the Next Level Trails grant. Many thanks to the state, city staff and all our other partners who made this trail a reality.”
Including the River Greenway, 17 of the 75 Next Level Trails projects are complete, totaling 54.3 miles of trail built since the program’s inception in 2018.
More information about the fourth round of Next Level Trails can be found here.