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Johnson County launches trails project

Johnson County launches trails project

Johnson County is moving ahead with a plan to connect communities, parks, schools, businesses, retail and dining and government facilities. The plan will involve construction of 96 miles of trails located adjacent to roads and another 67 miles of clearly marked paths on roadways.

The Johnson County Trails Master Plan was just adopted by the county commissioners in August and already some priorities are being recommended and funding is being sought to construct pedestrian and bicycle trails connecting cities and towns.

Community development is important for attracting and retaining workforce talent which impacts businesses of every size,” said Greater Greenwood Chamber President and CEO Christian Maslowski. “Residents demand trails and pathways more than ever. It only makes sense to first connect our towns and places within Johnson County and look ahead to how we can connect with neighboring counties.”

Creation and approval of the master plan has paved the way to apply for funding, explained Dana Monson, executive director and CEO of the Johnson County Development Corporation (JCDC). Aspire Johnson County, a community development program of JCDC, received a $40,000 grant from the Johnson County Community Foundation to create a master plan. Read about the plan on the JCDC website.

Johnson County Trails Master Plan. (Image courtesy of Aspire Johnson County.)

Three priorities already have been identified, said Monson, though she cautioned that these are recommendations and have not been finalized. “The ultimate decision will be based on anticipated level of usage, potential for funding, location of employers and ‘connectivity’ (for example, linking schools to the community).” Here are the recommended priorities:

• Connect Greenwood’s Summerville Park with New Whiteland’s Proctor Park and extend the trail southward to Franklin.

• Link Edinburgh to Johnson County Park.

• Connect Greenwood to Whiteland adjacent to U.S. 31.

Designed as a vision for trail development over the next 25 to 30 years, it is anticipated that the program will increase property values, attract businesses and residents, help retain the younger generation, promote agricultural tourism, increase the overall health of the community and increase community pride.

The mission of the trails movement is three-fold: incorporate Greenwood’s and Franklin’s established trail plans, support new trails for the county’s smaller municipalities and identify opportunities and means for connectivity between cities, towns and destinations. “Another benefit is economic development, with a trails system making the county more attractive to potential residents and businesses alike,” Monson explained.

“We are proud of the work done by Dana and by JCDC, our new partner in Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance,” concluded Maslowski. “Kudos to the community development volunteers on the Aspire Johnson County Growth and Planning Sub-team – Johnson County Trails for their leadership!”

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