-- — The first trail of six planned for Batesville is finished, but no one knows what to call it.
A contest will provide the name. “We’re going to get the schools involved,” Mayor Rick Fledderman told the Batesville Parks and Recreation Board Aug. 15.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, on Applefest weekend, the trail’s name will be announced and a ribbon will be cut to celebrate its official opening just before the first annual Mayor’s Youth Council 5K, which will raise money for trail upkeep and future paths. All the action will happen on Pohlman Street on Liberty Park’s south side.
The trail, which connects Brum Woods, the park, Bill Gillespie Soccer Park and The Plex, is “really, really being heavily used,” reported Park Commissioner Mike Baumer. “I haven’t heard anything negative … it’s been very positive.”
On Saturday, Aug. 18, Mandy Scott, strolled through the Brum Woods portion with children Alexis, 12, and Jaxon, 3, for the first time. “It’s nice to be able to walk somewhere and not be on the roads,” she pointed out.
Of the paved path’s 1.3-mile length, .6 mile is called Lena’s Loop and goes through part of Brum Woods. He explained, “The No. 1 reason we did that (is because) we needed an ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) accessible trail. I have seen a lot of handicapped people on it.” The smooth surface also makes it easy for families with bikes, trikes and strollers to use.
Baumer conducted a walk-through with project manager Kevin Foster, Schneider Engineering, Indianapolis, and contractor Paul H. Rohe Co., Aurora, two weeks ago.
“There were a couple little things … we have to take care of.” Gunter Excavating will grade a park section this week. Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials must do a walk-through soon. “Overall it’s in good shape,” Baumer said. “We definitely had some bumps in the road, but Rohe came back and fixed” problems.
The trail was funded by a $150,000 grant from the IDNR Recreational Trail Program with a 20 percent match from the city. Because costs went up from the time the grant was awarded, the city council voted Aug. 13 to allot $20,000 in Belterra riverboat revenue-sharing dollars to finish the Brum Woods paving.
Member Beth Meyers said, “My only concern then and now is Brum Woods was supposed to remain natural … I still have a concern spending that kind of money on that kind of project.” She added she would rather give the amount to LifeTime Resources. The agency on aging made a request for $10,000 for 2013, but is not in the city budget now.
Member Darrick Cox recalled the trail’s unfinished section was “kind of unsightly … It looks like we ran out of money right here. I appreciate the idea of keeping the natural landscape,” but said the paved portion will allow more persons to get exercise.
Council President Gene Lambert noted, “It provides the young and the elderly with the same opportunities everyone else has.”
Member Kevin Chaffee added, “I think it’s a wise expenditure. We’re going to buy a capital improvement that’s going to last for many, many years.” According to Cox, by using Belterra dollars, “it’s not costing a dime to the taxpayers.” The vote passed 4-1, Meyers opposed.
That same evening, the Batesville Board of Works voted to pay Paul H. Rohe Co. an extra $14,421 from the Economic Development Income Tax Fund to better drainage along Pohlman Street. Fledderman said, “Most of that was for the stone ... Now excess rainwater flows to a catch basin at Liberty Park.”
What’s next? For an Eagle Scout project, Logan Schwering will plant a tree and install a bench and landscape on the corner of Pohlman and Legion streets. “I haven’t seen plans yet,” according to Baumer.
The commissioner would like to see the trail extended around The Plex’s perimeter so parents and siblings of baseball and softball teammates can also be active during practices.
Debbie Blank can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 113; or debbie.blank@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.