Two statewide awards are recognizing our trail network this afternoon. At an awards ceremony in Indianapolis, the Greenways Foundation of Indiana recognized the City of Fort Wayne as Outstanding Local Government and the not-for-profit group Fort Wayne Trails Inc. as Outstanding Trail Group for the 2016 Indiana Greenways Awards.
The City’s award for Outstanding Local Government recognizes a city, town or county government that demonstrates success in the development, construction, promotion and management of trail facilities. The City owns and maintains 67 miles of trails, including more than 3 miles of new trails built in 2015. The new trails were along Oxford Street, Hanna Street, Lower Huntington Road and Maplecrest Road.
Judges pointed to the success of Mayor Tom Henry and the City’s Trails and Greenways staff in building a community-wide trail system that includes bike lanes and incorporates trails with road projects. The group honored Mayor Henry in 2014 as Indiana’s Outstanding Public Official for his support of trails.
The Fort Wayne Trails Inc. award for Outstanding Trail Group recognizes not-for-profit groups that champion trail development and that have demonstrated success in expanding Indiana’s trail network. In 2015 the organization provided funding for a new section of the Pufferbelly Trail, located north of Carroll Road in Allen County. The group also funded engineering and design work for an extension of the Covington Road Trail in Allen County.
US Census data from 2013 shows 86,247 Fort Wayne residents living within a half mile of a trail and another 11,457 outside of the City limits in Allen County. The City of Fort Wayne, Allen County and Fort Wayne Trails Inc. are committed to further connectivity beyond the combined 97,000 residents close to a trail in Allen County and are working together to secure Regional Cities funding to build 36 additional miles of trails over the next three years. These trails will pave the way for further connectivity with other counties in the Region and communication for greater regional connection, even beyond Allen County’s border, has already begun.