April 20, 2022
Mitch Barloga, Active Transportation Manager
219-254-2518 / email@example.com
Next Level Trails Round 3 funds will connect popular trails in Lake County, complete gap funding for Marquette Greenway trails
PORTAGE, Indiana—Trails in Northwest Indiana received a boost of nearly $8 million awarded through Round 3 of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Next Level Trails competition. The state trail funds challenge program listed four Northwest Indiana projects among the 17 winning regional and 21 local projects. A $4.9 million award for the Marquette Greenway in Porter County closes the gap to complete funding for the region-wide trail along the shore of Lake Michigan. Two projects in Lake County, for the C&O Trail, and the Lincoln Trail Extension in La Porte County also received important funding in the awards. The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) works with public and private entities to identify and apply for funding as part of the planning and development process advancing the regionwide Greenways+Blueways trail network.
Next Level Trails is the largest infusion of state trail funding in Indiana history. The program has invested $150 million since 2018 toward the development of regionally and locally significant trails throughout Indiana. The program is a component of Governor Holcomb’s broader Next Level Connections infrastructure program and provides incentives for collaborative efforts to accelerate trail connections.
The Marquette Greenway project will connect a trail segment between State Road 49 in Porter County and Lake Shore County Road in Beverly Shores. The connection is the last segment of the Greenway to be funded. Porter County Board of Commissioners submitted the application. The completed Marquette Trail will be a continuous 60-mile trail connection between Chicago and New Buffalo, Michigan, and will connect 130,000 residents within a half-mile of the regional trail.
Two adjacent C&O Trail projects will connect to the Erie Lackawanna and Oak Savanah Trails at Oak Ridge Prairie County Park in central Lake County. The projects connect Merrillville to the wider trail network and open possibilities for trail expansion further southeast. The 1.47-mile segment will receive $804,160, and was submitted by Lake County Parks and Recreation Department. The second segment runs from Taft Street to Hendricks Street in Merrillville, completing the connection. This segment is 1.35-miles, received $1,428,091, and was submitted by the Town of Merrillville.
The Lincoln Trail Extension in La Porte County received $826,000 for a .96-mile segment that will extend the trail north from its current terminus at West 300 South to West 200 South using an old railroad route. The segment is part of the greater Marquette Greenway connection through Michigan City.
Mitch Barloga, Active Transportation Manager at NIRPC, said, “These awards represent another huge win for Northwest Indiana and our burgeoning trail network. We are rapidly approaching 200 miles of off-road trail in our Region, further enhancing the quality of life of our residents. We are grateful to Governor Holcomb and the DNR for recognizing our region once again.”
The Next Level Trail Round 3 awards were announced Wednesday, April 20, 2022 by Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Indiana DNR Director Dan Bortner in Indianapolis. A complete list of projects awarded for Next Level Trails Round 3 statewide is available through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Next Level Trails at https://www.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/recreation/grants/next-level-trails/awards-and-news/ .
The DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation administers the Next Level Trails program in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Transportation. Next Level Trails objectives and more information about the grants program is at https://www.in.gov/dnr/state-parks/recreation/grants/next-level-trails/ .
Last modified: April 21, 2022