Trails project deserves community support

The Pennsy Trail is a longtime project in Greenfield and Hancock County. At the state level, it is part of an effort to link the west and east sides of Indiana with a walk and bike trail. This effort began during the Mitch Daniels administration and has continued through to the present day.

At the local level, the focus of this project has been to finish the trail from the east to the west county lines. This includes the portion through Sugar Creek Township. While no part of the trail has been easy, this portion has proven especially difficult.

Significant parts of the former Pennsylvania Railroad bed in Sugar Creek Township have been allowed to be sold to private developers. And fittingly, those who developed the land are not going to be quick to simply vacate their land that has been used to develop businesses. So neighboring landowners, often farmers, have to agree to relinquish significant portions of land for trail development. As you can see, this gets complicated.

As is so often the case, there is no bad guy here. Trail advocates want to increase a very popular venue to exercise, view nature and simply enjoy the fresh air. They also see the trail, especially once it is completed across the state, as a revenue-producer for the state and for local businesses.

These might include bicycle sales and repair shops, refreshment stands and other businesses that might benefit directly or indirectly from having such a trail through their state and community.

So what are the arguments for buying or taking of the land needed for this trail? As noted above, the community benefits from having such a trail through its area. There are economic benefits, health benefits and social benefits.

It helps to make a state and a community a destination for those interested in exploring the trail. And visitors to the trail may become interested in making such a community home. And such amenities as trails are shown to be essential in attracting high-quality workers and businesses.

Pennsy Trails of Hancock County Inc., is working to see that the trail is completed through Sugar Creek Township. It is finding ways to raise money for the project. The next big fundraiser is Aug. 5 in Sugar Creek Township.

Pennsy Trails of Hancock County, which recently received its nonprofit status, has scheduled the Pennsy Fling at The Preserve Clubhouse at the corner of county roads 400S and 450W in New Palestine. There will be food, wine-tasting, a silent auction, swimming, billiards, live music, and more.

You may learn more about how to participate in the event and contribute to the trail project at pennsytrailsofhancockcounty.org or ask questions by email at PennsyTrails@gmail.com.

At a glance

Pennsy Trails of Hancock County, Inc., has recently received its 501 c 3 non-profit status. They recently planned a Pennsyville Party on National Trails Day on Saturday, June 3 to celebrate the acquisition of land for the Pennsy Trail from 400 W to 500 W. A Pennsy Fling is scheduled for August 5 at the Preserves of Sugar Creek. You may learn more about how to participate in each event and contribute to the trail project at www.PennsyTrailofHancockCounty.org or ask questions by email at PennsyTrails@gmail.com

Jim Matthews is a longtime resident of Greenfield. He can be reached at jem75@sbcglobal.net.