of the Calumet Trail got to weigh in on plans to rebuild the trail during
an open house at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center on Wednesday.
series of three open houses will be hosted by Porter County and SEH
consultants who have been charged by the County Commissioners with the
engineering and landscape designs to refurbish roughly two miles of the
trail starting at Mineral Springs Road and working its way east toward
Manager Gregg Calpino of SEH said his firm wants the public to decide what
features they see as priorities whether it be better protection of
wildlife, trail signage, or drainage improvements.
County has secured $2 million in grants -- about $1.6 million in federal
transportation enhancement grants and $400,000 in a matching grant from
the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority -- for the project.
Calpino said stakeholder groups have met regularly with SEH such as local
environmentalists, trail users, the National Lakeshore, the Indiana Dunes,
Northern Indiana Public Service Company, the Northern Indiana Commuter
Transportation District and the Duneland/Chesterton Chamber of Commerce to
put together one shared vision.
a balancing act,” said Calpino. He said the trail has a rich, diverse
history given its location along the lakeshore, the South Shore line and
the steel mills and his team would like to tell that history through
various elements with the new design.
of the guidelines set forth in the Calumet Trail Revitalization
Feasibility Study completed in August 2009 will be also be included,
of the trail especially in the western area has been prone to flooding,
making it difficult for bikers and pedestrians using the trail. Much of
the area between Mineral Springs Road and Tremont Road will be raised and
asphalted to make it more durable. The surface is currently made up of
said SEH hopes to begin work by Summer 2014. After the public input
sessions, SEH will reveal the final engineering design to the public which
will likely be at the end of this year, he said.
trail width will be 10 feet which is the national recommended standard and
will be ADA compliant. Signs will be placed along the trail to promote
upgrades to the other seven miles of trail will come later after funding
can be obtained, basic maintenance will be done so the public can still
use the entire trail.
house attendees were asked to place stickers on diagrams indicating which
options they prefer for pavings, drainage, nodes, and habitat. The most
popular options were those that entailed low capital costs over those with
high capital costs.
also made it clear by the stickers that efforts need to be made to protect
wildlife. The Calumet Trail is home to a variety of rare species such as
the massasuaga rattlesnake, the spotted turtle and the chorus frog.
said the Calumet Trail is part of a regional trail system with
connectivity to the Marquette Greenway Trail. Plans are to connect it with
the Dunes-Kankakee Trail which will provide a route that hikers and bikers
could use to get from the Dunes Park train station to the Indiana Dunes
and dates have not been determined for the next two open houses but
Calpino said they will likely be held in May and July.