GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department is proceeding with plans for significant recreation projects that would connect two major city parks and possibly create a new park for bicyclists.
The parks board last week approved contracts to complete design of a trail to connect Brandywine Park with the Pennsy Trail and to study the idea of building a bicycle park on the old Greenfield Youth Baseball Association diamonds in Riley Park. The board agreed to hire MS Consultants, an engineering, architecture and planning firm, to do the work.
The first contract approves allocating $190,000 to the firm, contingent on funding availability, to complete the design for a project called the Brandywine Greenway Trail, a mile-long connector between Brandywine Park and the Pennsy Trail, said parks superintendent Ellen Kuker. The connector would link Brandywine and Riley parks as part of the city’s plan to connect all its parks to the existing trail system in the county, she said.
The parks department has planned for the trail spur since 2004, when it first included the idea in its master plan, Kuker said. The asphalt trail, 8 to 10 feet wide, will start at the Pennsy Trail, cross Brandywine Creek as it goes south, and then connect to the sidewalk that runs along Davis Road at the entrance to Brandywine Park, she said.
Two bridges will be built along the trail, one over Brandywine Creek and one over Potts Ditch, she said. The trail will be ADA compliant and will be suitable for bicyclists as well as walkers, she added.
A second contract with MS Consultants envisions a new future for the northern part of Riley Park as the Greenfield Youth Baseball Association moves its games from the park’s baseball diamonds to the new facilities located near Greenfield Central Junior High. 2018 was the last year for the youth baseball league to use the diamonds at Riley Park, Kuker said.
The contract permits the firm to conduct preliminary planning into building a bike park and a “pump” track, amenities that will replace several of the baseball diamonds along the northern part of Riley Park, though exactly which ones is yet to be determined, Kuker said. A pump track is a type of off-road bicycling track with steeply banked turns.
The idea is in the early planning stages, officials said. Daniel R. Cutshaw, an associate with MS Consultants, told the board it would have to go through a permitting process with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources before building the bike track, to make sure the new structure wouldn’t exacerbate the flooding issues in the park.
The parks department wants to do its due diligence and ensure the facility wouldn’t lead to adjacent homes being flooded, Kuker said.
The cost of the contract will be covered by the professional service line item of the parks budget, Kuker said.
As far as the actual construction of the bicycling park, Kuker told the board there’s a passionate group of individuals who have pledged to raise $70,000 to $100,000 to go toward the cost of the potential new amenity. In addition, in-kind donations of crushed stone for the project could put a “real dent” in the projected budget, she added.
While a bike track will require some mowing, leveling and maintenance, Kuker said the parks department envisions creating a partnership with the nearby Boys & Girls Clubs of Hancock County to address some of those needs.
“We want to install this in a neighborhood setting close to the Boys & Girls Clubs, provide them with bikes and opportunities, and maybe they can pull weeds and paint,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for the community to get behind a project the parks are doing.”