NEW PALESTINE — Area runners, walkers, cyclists and lovers of the outdoors are invited to help celebrate National Trails Day the first Saturday in June.

The Pennsy Trails of Hancock County Inc., is hosting a Pennsyville Party from 3 to 7 p.m. June 3 at New Palestine United Methodist Church, 3565 S 500W, New Palestine.

The free event is designed to acknowledge National Trails Day and to garner attention and funding to connect the Pennsy Trail between Cumberland and Greenfield. The Pennsyville Party is the first of its kind in the area to help generate support on a larger scale for the trails.

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Board members are trying to generate excitement about the trail project and get area residents to understand they can help support the effort with time or money, said board member Tim McCarthy.

The party will celebrate the acquisition of the Pennsy Trails from County Roads 400W to 500W. Trail officials will offer an update on the route and details on construction.

While officials will need several hundred thousand dollars through grants and donations to install the trail in the next couple of years, they’re hoping to have a foot path for this section of the trail open some time in the fall.

Officials with the trails project would like to put a gravel parking lot just off of County Road 400W and let people start walking the path as is.

Lee Harris, a New Palestine resident, will be one of the people whose home is near the proposed new section of the trail. He said he believes it will be a popular place once constructed.

“Many residents bike, jog and run,” Harris said. “The trail will provide a safer place to enjoy.”

He feels connecting Cumberland to Greenfield is essential. He wants to see county officials become more involved in establishing trails and said they contribute to quality of life and increase property values.

The group’s goal is to raise at least $65,000 per year for the next three years to go toward the project.

“But a lot more money is needed from an actual building perspective,” McCarthy said.

Hancock County officials were able to acquire this section for the trail with the help of a Department of Natural Resources state grant. The group is anticipating federal Transportation Alternative Program funds to construct a 15-to-30-foot wide paved trail for the one-mile section, according to a press release.

Pennsy Trails of Hancock County is working to match the TAP funds by building 200 feet of the trail with each foot costing an estimated $100.

The party will begin with a Military Marine Corps flag ceremony. Food is sponsored by Woodland Terrace of New Palestine and there will be live music by Sydney Paige.

There will also be a raffle to support the trail extension with items provided by local and central Indiana businesses.

Local participation is important to show community support as the group looks for other grants and even small donations will make a difference, Mary Ann Wietbrock, president of the Pennsy Trails Group, said in a press release.

Organizers have also prepared bike course and outdoor safety information, Pennsy gear, and fun family games for kids of all ages.

A Pennsy Fling is also being planned for later this summer Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Preserves of Sugar Creek, in New Palestine where they hope to have a silent auction and wine tasting.

If you go

The Pennsy Trails of Hancock County Inc., is hosting a Pennsyville Party open free to the community to help celebrate National Trails Day.

When: Saturday, June 3

Time: 3 to 7 p.m.

Where: New Palestine United Methodist Church, 3565 S 500 W, New Palestine.

Learn more

To donate or learn more about the cause visit, www.PennsyTrailsofHancockCounty.org, call 317-620-1006 or email PennsyTrails@gmail.com.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.