Peace and Enjoy.
June 14, 2008
County plans to lobby for federal funds for Riverwalk's Phase 2
NOBLESVILLE -- County officials are planning a trip in early 2009 to Washington, D.C., to lobby for federal funds for the $2.3 million second phase of the Riverwalk project.
Phase 1 should be complete this year, commissioner's assistant Fred Swift told Noblesville's downtown steering committee Friday at City Hall. That committee is in charge of revitalizing downtown, and members suggested the city become more involved in the second of the three-phase Riverwalk project.
The Indiana Department of Transportation awarded the first-phase contract to Ohio-based Sunesis Construction for $961,981. That will create a walkway from the Hamilton County Government and Judicial Center to the county parking lot south of Conner, mainly to allow county employees to avoid crossing the busy road.
Phase 2 will create a path from there to the Forest Park trailhead on Eighth Street, which in essence would finish a trail from Riverside Cemetery to Potter's Bridge.
Mayor John Ditslear said he would like to join or sit in on Riverwalk committee meetings and go to Washington to show the city's support for the county project. Ditslear wasn't sure if the city would lend funding, saying he'd prefer to look for other sources first. He plans to contact Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., to see if they would help get funding for the project.
The Riverwalk's third phase will develop the grassy area behind the judicial center into a park-like setting, and downtown committee members viewed that as a county project.
County Councilman Steve Schwartz, who heads the Riverwalk committee, said by phone Friday that he's glad the mayor wants to be involved in the project, and Ditslear would be welcome at meetings and on the Washington trip.
"This trail is just a huge asset," Schwartz said. "If you go up to Potter's Bridge, there are people up there all the time, and that's what we want downtown."
Schwartz hopes to learn if the project will receive federal funding sometime in 2009. If it does, construction could start by early 2010. He said officials would have to think hard about funding the project locally, because that funding might be better spent on mass transit options that the Metropolitan Planning Organization is considering from Noblesville to Indianapolis in as soon as 3-5 years.