Ceremony opens already-popular trail

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By Vince Luecke

TELL CITY - Although the Oct. 29 ceremony was a ribbon-cutting in the official sense, the Windy Creek Trail has already been blessed with countless feet over its ribbon of cushiony asphalt. A ceremony at the trailhead off of Indiana 37 served as the official opening of the first leg of the Perry County Greenway. Its leaders hope there are more ribbons to be cut soon.

"What a great project to show what we can get done when we all work together," Tony Hollinden said. A member of the greenway's steering committee and now a city councilman, Hollinden and others sung the project's praises during the late-afternoon ceremony.

Stretching from Indiana 37 through Hagedorn Park to 19th Street, the idea for the trail was born four years ago from a collaboration of community partners working on suggestions for a matching grant offered by the Indiana Association of United Ways.

Gifts large and small provided the needed match, said Rebecca Fenn, another member of the steering committee. A group of girls hosted a bake sale while large donors such as the Edgar and Lucile Schergens Foundation contributed nearly half of the trail's cost. Partners in the original project were the county's three school districts, the county's chamber of commerce and visitors bureau, Lincoln Hills Development Corp., Perry County Memorial Hospital and United Way of Perry County.

Major donors, in addition to the Schergens Foundation and United Way, were the Perry County Community Foundation, Ohio Valley Gas, Old National Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Hollinden Realty, Perry County Memorial Hospital, Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Guy Neil and LaVerne Ramsey, Naomi Mulzer, Ralph and Ruth Anne Werner, Tom and Debbie McCart and Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates.

An Indiana Department of Environmental Management grant provided money for rubberized asphalt. The extra cushion in the rubber track comes from the rubber, which Fenn said was equivalent to more than 400 tires.

New Grant

A just-announced grant from the Welborn Baptist Foundation in the amount of $45,000 will fund 10,000 feet of biking lanes connecting different areas of the city, including several parks. The bike lanes will also access Tell City's Main Street, which received four blocks of bike lanes over the past year. The money will also serve as a funding match to Tell City's grant application to the Indiana Department of Transportation to construct a sidewalk from that intersection to the Tell City-Perry County Public Library.

Tell City already has funds to construct a sidewalk from the library to William Tell Elementary School and that project will be built in 2009, Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing said.

The greenway committee will begin raising matching money for the Welborn grant soon.

Ewing echoed the hard work and cooperation of the greenway committee and said the city's application for INDOT funding was strong, especially considering the project's goal of connecting different parts of the city. "It's all about connectivity," she said.

The official cutting of the ribbon fell to 3-year-old Kelby Glenn, who lives near the end of the trail, and Taylor LaGrange, a local Boy Scout who has worked on the trail as his Eagle Scout service project.

The trail is open to walkers, joggers and bikers and can be accessed at the trailhead, from the parking area near the tennis courts in Hagedorn Park or from 19th Street.