Big step taken in trailway project


GREENFIELD — Purchasing land on Morristown Pike might make city officials’ dream to connect Brandywine Park to the Pennsy Trail a reality.

The Greenfield Park Board recently approved the acquisition of about 2.5 acres of land at 600 S. Morristown Pike, which is adjacent to Brandywine Park.

For a few years, Greenfield Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ellen Kuker has been looking for ways to connect the park to the trail. It’s been discussed for years, but city officials have had trouble making it happen due to conflicts with land acquisition.

Purchasing the vacant lot, which cost $32,000, is the first step in achieving that goal.

It could allow city officials to connect Pennsy Trail to Brandywine Park, which is on East Davis Road, via Morristown Pike, she said.

The parks department hopes to use the acquired land to create an additional entrance to the park by way of Morristown Pike.

Eventually, a half-mile trail extending north along Morristown Pike from the new entrance could connect the park to the trail, which runs south of U.S. 40.

“It’s not a lot of land, but this is a pretty critical acquisition,” Kuker said.

The project is in the early stages, Kuker said. She said she expects the city to close on the property this week.

After that’s finalized, she’ll work with city engineer Karla Vincent to design the connection and calculate how much the trail project will cost.

The city then will need to work with property owners along the proposed trail to acquire additional land needed to create the connection.

Still, it’s an exciting possibility, Kuker said.

“I wasn’t sure how we were ever going to accomplish it,” she said. “This really has the potential to be a reality.”

The ultimate goal is to connect all of the city’s parks through the trail system, Kuker said.

In communities with extensive trail systems, residents tend to lead healthier lifestyles, she said, and officials want the same opportunities for Greenfield.

Kuker said an Indiana Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails Program grant could help the city pay for the project.

Mayor Chuck Fewell is excited about new opportunities for residents to further enjoy the city’s parks and trails.

“The connectability is the goal,” he said. “If we could have all the parks connected, wouldn’t that be ideal?”