B&O Trail Association Opens Newest Trail Section

(Tilden, Indiana – June 16, 2023) The B&O Trail Association held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting today for its newest trail section, which runs from County Road 500 East to County Road 250 East in Hendricks County. “This is an exciting milestone for the B&O Trail Association in Hendricks County, and this is just the first of three long-awaited expansions both in Hendricks and Marion County,” said Jeff Smallwood, BOTA president. “We thank the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for making this possible by awarding us a $4.58 million Next Level Trails grant in 2021 for two phases of this project. We are now one step closer to our long-term vision of a trail stretching from downtown Indianapolis to Montezuma, Indiana.”

In Hendricks County, the B&O Trail now runs 8.35 miles west from Raceway Road to County Road 250 East. There is also a three-mile section running east from High School Road through the Town of Speedway to Michigan St. just west of the White Rive Parkway. The Speedway Trails Association (STA) recently opened an additional 1.9 miles of that stretch.

The section opened today, dubbed 5B, cost approximately $1.7 million, and includes a nine-foot-wide asphalt pedestrian and cycling trail, an equestrian trail, and four road crossings. Beaty Construction of Boggstown, Indiana, had the winning bid and completed the project within the original construction window.

“Thanks to Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Trails program, Indiana is leading the way in supporting communities as they create trail networks,” said Chris Smith, DNR deputy director. “Trails bring people together all across the state, and the new B&O Trail extension here in Hendricks County keeps that important connection going strong.” 

Dennis Dawes, Hendricks County Commissioner, added, “Hendricks County is fortunate to have the B&O Trail, and we encourage all residents to enjoy this beautiful trail. We are thankful to the B&O Trail Association for keeping this trail project alive.”

BOTA’s consultants include CrossRoad Engineers and Storrow Kinsella Associates of Indianapolis. Future sections are Phase 5A, which will run west from just east of County Road 100 East to approximately County Road 50 West, and Phase 6, which will run east from Raceway Road to connect with the trail being constructed by the STA. New trailhead parking lots will also be constructed near Maplewood and Tilden in Hendricks County. Substantial completion of Phase 5B is scheduled for June of 2023.

The project is primarily funded by a $4,583,050 Next Level Trail grant awarded to BOTA by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in March of 2021, along with nearly $500,000 in matching funds raised by BOTA. STA also received a $4,893,479 NLT grant in 2019 to fund their construction efforts. Future construction in Hendricks County is also supported by a $1.3 million grant from the Hendricks County Commissioners. Other key local partners include the Central Indiana Community Foundation, IU West Hospital, Hendricks Regional Health, Indy Gateway, Hendricks County Community Foundation, Hendricks Power Cooperative, and numerous individual contributors.

“We sincerely appreciate the support this project has received from the State of Indiana, Hendricks County, Marion County and our many, many donors, both corporate and individual,” Smallwood added. “Although construction costs have escalated sharply since we were awarded our grant, we are working tirelessly to raise the funds needed to build the trail as originally planned.”

About the B&O Trail Association: With a mission of Blazing Trails, Connecting Communities, the B&O Trail Association (BOTA) is creating a recreational trail along the abandoned B&O Railroad corridor. The non-profit, all-volunteer organization was formed in 1993 and has already completed 6.25 miles of paved trail. To learn more, visit botrail.org. BOTA partners with the Speedway Trails Association (STA), which is constructing along the B&O corridor in Marion County from Michigan Street to western Marion County, where the two groups will meet approximately halfway between I-465 and Girls School Road. STA has now completed three miles on the west side of Indianapolis, which runs from Michigan Street to High School Road.

B&O Trail Next Level Trail (NLT) Grant Facts

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources administers the Next Level Trails Program, which will invest $150 million – the largest infusion of state trail funding in Indiana history – toward the development of regionally and locally significant trails throughout Indiana. As part of Governor Holcomb’s broader Next Level Connections infrastructure program, Next Level Trails is designed to incentivize collaborative efforts to accelerate trail connections. Two rounds of grants have been awarded for B&O Trail projects so far.

  • Speedway Trails Association Round 1 grant award was $4,893,479 in 2019. STA’s project comprises two phases in the B&O Railroad corridor in Marion County.
  • BOTA’s 2021 NLT Round 2 grant award was $4,583,050. BOTA plans three phases of construction including 5A & 5B in Hendricks County and 6 in Marion County
  • BOTA & STA projects to meet between Girls School Road and I-465.

About Brian Scott

I play on the radio from 7 am -1 pm weekdays on 98.9 WYRZ and WYRZ.org. Follow me on twitter @WYRZBrianScott or e-mail me at brian@wyrz.org.

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