The Calumet Trail could be paved from Mineral Springs Road all the way to
Tremont Road by the end of 2014.
By that time though, it might not be known as the Calumet Trail but as the
Marquette Greenway, or something else.
That’s what was told to the Porter County Board of Commissioners at its
meeting on Tuesday by consultants Gregg Calpino and Nick Minch of SEH Inc.,
the engineering firm hired to manage the revitalization project.
Earlier this fall, the Commissioners agreed to give $12,000 to fund the
first phase of the enhancement project. According to Plan Commission
Executive Director Robert Thompson, about $1.6 million in transportation
enhancement grants have been procured for the project with some additional
funding coming from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority for
a grand total of almost $2 million.
Calpino said SEH conducted a feasibility study in 2009 and determined this
is a “wet section” of the trail and the portion that could benefit the most
from paving. He said design work will commence throughout 2013 starting with
a number of public open houses and stakeholder workshops to gather baseline
data. Stakeholder groups include trail users and local governments.
The plan also calls for forming a community advisory council and an
additional project committee. The groups will also discuss ways to protect
threatened or endangered species and other environmental factors.
“It’s important we take this through the proper process,” Calpino said.
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said the trail is the
oldest existing bike path in the county and acknowledged the issues it has
had with standing water.
“The surface of the trail has always been a problem,” Evans said. The trail
is managed by the Porter County Parks Department.
Minch and Calpino said there has been consideration given to renaming the
path “Marquette Greenway” once construction is finished to highlight its
Evans said there should at least be a public survey to see what trail
enthusiasts wish the name to be.
“I think we ought to let the people who use the trail make the decision,” he
Calpino said no open houses have been formally scheduled yet but they will
be announced later and held at various locations throughout the county.