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DeKalb County increasing effort to add trail system

Indiana's Next Level Trails grant program dedicates $90 million to connect communities.

Posted: Apr 15, 2019 9:03 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2019 10:41 PM

AUBURN, Ind. (WFFT) - There is a re-newed effort to bring more trails to DeKalb County.

"It is a fantastic opportunity for people to travel from the southern part of the state to the northern edge of the state," said Jeremiah Otis from DeKalb County Trails, Inc.

Indiana's Next Level Trails grant program dedicates $90 million to connect communities.

The grant program is part of Next Level connections, Governor Eric Holcomb's $1 billion statewide infrastructure program.

"The reality is we have a great opportunity. People in America far more health conscious and far more aware of the benefits of walking and bicycling," said Otis.

The Poka-Bache is the longest trail proposal in the state.

It connects the Ouaobache State Park with Pokagon State Park, going right through Allen and DeKalb counties.

"We are excited to be on that trail and to be part of that effort. We need to get started," Otis said.

There are already some trails in DeKalb County, the longest one is along County Road 427 connecting Waterloo to Auburn.

However, the goal is to make more connections across the county.

"You can go from the (Auburn, Cord, Duesenburg) Museum all the way to Waterloo on a trail," said Auburn mayor Norm Yoder.

Yoder said Auburn has been adding trails over the years.

Today, there are only a handful, adding up to 6.5 miles. The only other trail is the 1 mile St. Joe Rivergreen in St. Joe.

It is a long way from the more than 100 miles in Allen County, but Yoder said Auburn is planning for more trails this year connecting Reike Park to the Y ball diamonds down the street.

"How do we enhance the walkable, bikeable quality of life in Auburn? We are always looking," Yoder said.

If you would like to help or learn more, connect with DeKalb County Trails, Inc.

There will also be a meeting Tuesday 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1203 E 7th St, Auburn, IN 46706.

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