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Indianapolis paper adds support to trails system

The January 22, 2000, issue of the Indianapolis Star added its support for the city's trails system with an editorial titled "Extending the trails." The piece highlights how far trails advocates have come in building essential political support.

Here are some excerpts from the editorial:

"It isn't a summer gardening catalog that warms the hearts of hikers and bikers on these snowy winter mornings. But they do get more than a little charge out of Mayor Bart Peterson's ambitious plan to complete 175 miles of hiking/biking trails around the city of Indianapolis.

"It may be a measure of the success of the greenways idea that people are beginning to ask for more of them, sooner rather than later. The extensive use of the Monon Trail, even in the winter months, suggests there is a demand for more park and recreation opportunities in the city.

"From the standpoint of the taxpayers, the trails are relatively inexpensive to construct and maintain, especially when they follow corridors with public land. Lilly Endowment has been generous in helping to finance a number of the projects.

"Mayor Peterson and his park officials have selected the right approach to park expansion in singling out the greenways project as a priority. The trails provide a wider range of access to recreation for more residents, since they wind through the city in many directions."

The foundation of the plan was laid fairly recently, in the 1990s, with the construction of several of these greenways. The system includes 175 miles of trails along 14 streams and former rail corridors in Marion County, Indiana. Four major projects are currently underway: Eagle Creek, Fall Creek, and south White River Greenways, and extension of the South Monon rail trail, for a total of $18.8 million.

Another Star article from January 5 shed more light on the political support for the trail system:

"While campaigning for mayor, Peterson criticized some aspects of parks policies under Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. 'But he pointed to greenways as a particular success of the parks program,' said Chief Deputy Mayor Michael O'Connor. 'That's the kind of infrastructure geared toward really providing a service to people.'"


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