Indianapolis trails and greenways are set for historic investment. The push to increase and improve pedestrian and bicycle pathways is supported by tens of millions in recent allocations.
The Central Indiana Community Foundation recently announced the latest $25 million gift from the Lilly Endowment
CICF President and CEO Brian Payne said the Connected Communities Initiative seeks to create a more complete system.
“We are really trying to be strategic about connecting people to what they need to connect to, including existing trails that have a lot of miles but they can just not get to,” Payne said.
Other recent investment targets trails in neighborhoods that have not had access. Payne said in the past the City has only been able to accomplish one piece at a time.
“We’re spreading out the infrastructure so no one has to target one neighborhood to access,” Payne said.
The CICF investment will build 7.5 miles of new greenways, as well as 4 miles of on-street protected bicycle infrastructure.
The goal is to build one of the best trail systems in the country.
“I think we’re going to be very competitive nationally,” Payne said.
The investment in pedestrian infrastructure comes after years of local planning. Collaborative investment now from federal, state, local and private funders supports local greenway goals.
The Nickel Plate Trail to connect Indianapolis and Fishers will benefit from a $5 million state award announced recently.
The city announced $25 million for greenways through the Circle City Forward Initiative. The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has $25 million built into its operating budget for trails on all sides of Indianapolis.
Research shows the increase in trail systems can support improvements in public health, environment and economy.
CICF will partner with the city and local nonprofits to continue efforts to improve the countywide greenway system.