Foundation frees up funds for trail
By Mike Marturello | KPC News - Herald Republican
The final phase of the Steuben County Bike Trail got a boost from the Steuben County Community Foundation.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Steuben County Board of Commissioners, Highway Engineer Jen Sharkey announced that funds in the care of the Foundation were released in the form of a grant to help with the Bike Trail phase that will connect Hoosier Hill and Pokagon State Park.
The foundation’s board approved providing the $52,665 to the trail project, which is expected to cost about $2 million.
This final stretch of the trail — a little over a mile long — will complete the system that runs from the southeast side of Angola, north to Hoosier Hill, at C.R. 300N. The final phase will connect with the existing trail in Pokagon.
The project has been a work in progress since 2001 when the first leg of the trail in Pokagon was dedicated in a ceremony attended by Gov. Frank O’Bannon. The four miles of trail in Angola was built not quite 10 years ago.
“This money came from the Steuben County Trails Fund, established in 2001. The primary purpose of the fund was to accept public and private contributions and make disbursements related to the construction or maintenance of trails in Steuben County,” Foundation President and CEO Jennifer Danic said in an email to The Herald Republican.
Over the course of eight years, almost $100,000 in private funds was raised for the trail project and held by the foundation.
About $45,000 of the money had been spent, but the fund has sat dormant for a number of years, Danic said.
Ron Smith, president of the commissioners, and Angola Mayor Dick Hickman requested in a joint letter to the foundation that the funds be released to help finish the trail.
“This grant finalizes this Trails Fund at SCCF and it will now be closed,” Danic said.