This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trails and meanders (updated)

Yesterday's Rensselaer Republican had a little note that there would be a meeting about trails at city hall. Two speakers, one from the Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission and the other from the National Park Service would offer presentations. I had nothing on my schedule, so I decided to go.

On the way there I noticed that brick columns were rising in our smallest park, Hanley Park.
On Tuesday evening, coming back from a meeting in Monticello, I noticed a sign on a building that has seen a lot of different uses in the past few years. It will now be the Fairmeadows Home Health Center. When I stopped by yesterday I did not see anyone in the office, or I would have stopped in to ask what their business did.
Going into the city building, I noticed a map that showed the borders of Rensselaer as of mid July. What a bizarre shape our little city has.
The meeting itself was full of information. It was well attended--apparently it was well publicized at St. Joseph's College because about half the audience seemed to be people from there. Rensselaer has only nebulous plans for trails, and this meeting was largely one in which the presenters were trying to sell the idea of trails. The speaker from the NPS, who was part of their Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, stressed the health and economic benefits of trails. The speaker from our north told us about the how trails are being developed in Lake, Porter, and Laporte Counties. They have gone from 13 miles of trails in 1990 to 80 now, with 50 more miles funded. Many of those trails follow abandoned railroad routes, something that is not useful to us because our abandoned rail routes are no longer even visible.
From the map it seems there is a plan for a trail that will follow the old Monon line from Medaryville to Michigan City. The trail that is most interesting for Rensselaer is the proposed Dunes-Kankakee Trail, which will follow SR 49 down from the Dunes, and there is a state plan that takes it to Rensselaer and then along the Iroquois River to Kentland. At Kentland it will connect with another proposed trail that will follow the route of the abandoned railroad line that runs north-south in Newton County.

One of the handouts available at the meeting showed the Kankakee River Water Trail, 85 miles of the Kankakee River for canoes and kayaks. It is still relatively undeveloped, but the map shows in detail where the access points are. It also points out areas where canoers and kayakers might have problems from low bridges and log jams.

There will be future meetings about trails. I will get more interested when there are actual proposals on the table. I suspect a lot of the trails will be a bike lane on existing roads--we have county roads that have light traffic and are excellent for biking or running.

After the meeting I asked the mayor if there would be a dedication for the new Talbert Bridge. He said that it would take place, but not until the sidewalk on the south end is installed. I joked that it would be sometime next spring, but he insisted it would be sometime this fall.

As I left the downtown I noticed impressive clouds to the east, clouds of a storm that missed us.
Just visible in the picture above are signs for the competing festivals. In a couple of weekends we will have the Little Cousin Jasper Festival around the Court House Square and the Jasper County Fall Festival at the Fairgrounds. Are you ready for both?

Update: Fairmeadows Home Health Center seems to be the first branch office of a large home health company located in Schereville.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure why the county fair would be competing against the LcJ that has been here for decades? I remembe the LCJ as a kid and I love tradition. Isn't there another week the County can have thier wing ding?

Anonymous said...

The city is "a changing" as the new map shows.