GETTING CONNECTED: New trail connectors link Greenfield parks with city’s pedestrian pathway

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Sun shines on busy activity along the Pennsy Trail on Tuesday.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — Two new connector paths recently opened up in Greenfield, connecting two major parks through a series of paved paths and city sidewalks.

The 1.1-mile long Brandywine Connector connects the Pennsy Trail to Brandywine Park on Davis Road. The trail runs through a wooded area between the Pennsy and the park, giving users the chance to stroll through the woods between decorative fencing and over a rustic bridge near the back of the park.

The 1.4-mile long Beckenholdt Connector is a 10-foot-wide paved path connecting the park to the city’s sidewalk system. The path runs south from the park to New Road, where it splits off east to the Hancock County Wellness Center and south to Greenfield Central Junior High School.

The two new connectors now make it possible to walk, run or bike on a paved path or sidewalk all the way from Beckenholdt Park on the northwest side of town to Brandywine Park on the southeast side of town.

Greenfield Parks superintendent Ellen Kuker said the connectors are part of the parks department’s master plan to eventually connect all the city’s parks through a series of city sidewalks and paved pathways.

Lori Deemer was thrilled to discover the new Brandywine Connector on a recent bike ride along the Pennsy Trail.

“I was so excited when I stumbled upon this,” said the Greenfield mother of six, who lives a half mile from Brandywine Park.

She and her husband often bike the Pennsy Trail and other parts of town. The new connector makes it possible for them to reach the Pennsy without having to bike along major roads, she said.

Kuker said the Brandywine Connector — which opened July 1 — was a great first step toward eventually connecting all parks and pedestrian pathways throughout the city. Finishing touches are still being put on the Beckenholdt Connector, she said, but the public is free to access it at anytime.

Kuker said plans for the new Brandywine Connector predate her joining the parks department in 2012.

After the city failed to win grant money two years in a row and had lost the permission of some landowners to cut through the originally proposed pathway, city engineer Jason Koch came on board and shifted the path to its current location which runs along the west side of Brandywine Creek.

The city was awarded a land and water conservation grant through the state’s Department of Natural Resources in 2019, which allowed the city to move forward on the Brandywine Connector.

Greenfield couple Dan and Kathy Scott are huge fans of the new connectors and the parks department’s plans to connect all the city parks.

“We love trails, and whenever we go on vacation we look for trails to explore. What we have right here in Hancock County is really great,” said Kathy Scott, who lives near the Buck Creek Trail west of Greenfield.

Deemer said connecting the parks and pathways have been a great perk for her and her family.

“I didn’t know this (Brandywine) connector existed until we came upon it one day,” said Deemer, who tries to bike the local trails at least twice a week. “It’s really beautiful, and it really helps connect people with other parts of town.”

She and her husband Mike have been using the connector to bike from their home on Davis Road all the way into downtown Greenfield, where they’ve been frequenting local restaurants for dinner.

“I absolutely love the city’s plan for more connectivity, which will help people connect with all parts of town. We’re all for it,” she said.

Kuker said an official ribbon cutting for the Brandywine and Beckenholdt connectors will be held in September with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which contributed funding for both projects.

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