EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Trails in Vanderburgh County are set to receive a big upgrade.
The Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners announced Thursday that $771,150 is being awarded for the Green River Road Trail Project.
This announcement is a part of the second round of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Next Level Trails Program.
Vanderburgh County was selected as one of 18 projects to receive grant money.
Officials say the plan is to add a 2.3 mile asphalt trail along Green River Road, from Lenape Lane to Millersburg Road. The trail will connect to the Green River Road Canoe Launch, Goebel Soccer Complex and Deaconess Sports Park.
Officials told 14 News the project is estimated to be $7.7 million, so this grant would cover 10% of the construction costs. A number of officials say this is a huge benefit towards getting started.
Gov. Eric Holcomb cited the rising number of visitors to Indiana state parks as the reason for the upgrades.
“Two million more visitors to our state parks last year during a global pandemic, just proving that people are excited to get out and experience the great outdoors,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We want to continue to make investments in these very localized amenities, and parks are not just popular, but they’re a great way for people to get out, get exercise, clear your head.”
The improvements will allow the area to be better navigated by residents, tourists and developers alike.
“For tourists who come, and spectators who come to ballgames, soccer, baseball, softball – even pickleball now is a big sport – come there and they can’t really get around back there,” Ben Shoulders, president of the Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners said. “As great as (Deaconess Sports Park) is, the accessibility and connectivity is lacking, so that’s part of this trail project.”
“Our first and foremost priority is to get out of COVID, make sure everybody’s healthy and safe,” Shoulders continued. “But as we hopefully move forward, we want to see this happen to its completion, I would say by 2023.”
Shoulders says the project lost a year of construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He estimates in a “perfect world” the project would be completed within 18-24 months.