Ligonier receives money for new trail

November 19th, 2018

By Kayla Brennan | KPC Media - The News Sun

The City of Ligonier became $229,568 richer on Tuesday as it was granted money from the Noble County Economic Development Corp. and the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority to be used toward the Strawberry Valley Cultural Trail.

The EDC gave $130,800 and the RDA gave $99,568.

The trail finished Phase 1A in Kenney Park, which includes 12-foot-wide asphalt trails, some of which have a story walk. Phase 2 will begin in Spring 2019 and another three-fourths of a mile will be paved along the Elkhart River. Bridges will be replaced along the trail as well.

“Right now it is a gravel trail that will be paved. We anticipate putting that up for bid in early 2019,” Johnathan Moen, city engineer, said in a presentation to the RDA board.

The trail is in the planning process now, but the completion timeline should remain the same, according to Moen. Officials are trying to decide the best layout for the trail, especially in Pettit Park.

“We had to move some of the phases around because some of Pettit Park will be used for a fire house. It’s in its design phase so that way we don’t have to build something that needs rebuilt. We are waiting for the final design of the fire house before we put the trails through Pettit Park,” Moen said.

The last phase of the project will be to connect the trail to the city’s parks with downtown Ligonier and the Industrial Park.

Mayor Patty Fisel was thankful to be given money toward the project.

“I am very excited about the whole project and I just have to say that from the inception of the whole thing, Johnathan started with a plan and we had several meetings to get it going. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that this board and the Noble County EDC are willing to help us fund it,” Fisel said.

Ligoner also put money toward this project, but it was truly a team effort, according to Fisel.

“It certainly wouldn’t have been accomplished without your help. I just want to thank you and I want to thank everyone that has been involved with it,” Fisel said.

The RDA and EDC have agreed to put in a sum of money toward the project, according to Andrew Boxberger, RDA attorney. He said that “every time the RDA puts in money, the EDC will put in that same percentage of their amount of money committed to the project.”

Rick Sherck, executive director of Noble County EDC, wanted to share a few words before the checks were presented.

“The EDC, when it started, we were blessed with some money from the county to do projects. They continue to give us funds. We call it investment trust fund money. That is where the money comes to help complete these projects. It’s a great way to collaborate with the region,” Sherck said.

Upon approval from the RDA board, the city was presented with both checks.