The B-Line Trail in Bloomington and the Fort Wayne greenways manager were both honored recently by a Midwestern trails organization.
The B-Line was given the Outstanding Project Award by the Mid America Trails and Greenways (MATAG) conference. MATAG is a biannual conference of trail managers, developers, advocates and users from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Dawn Ritchie, greenways manager for the city of Fort Wayne, was given MATAG’s Outstanding Person Award.
The conference was in Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 25-28.
The Outstanding Project Award is given to projects that demonstrate exceptional planning, design or implementation and enhance the overall trails movement.
The 3.1-mile B-Line is open round-the-clock and is equipped with a lighted path. The trail is frequently used for fitness and running, so the B-Line Trail also includes a series of fitness stations.
The downtown portion of the B-Line Trail is in the heart of the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District. The trail features murals, sculptures and plazas and provides spaces for theatre, music, speeches and other forms of expression.
The B-Line Trail is funded by federal grants and state environmental grants. Much of the funding went to land acquisition, construction and cleanup.
The Outstanding Person Award is presented to a person who demonstrates significant and exemplary service to trails planning, implementation and recreation.
Under Ritchie’s leadership, Fort Wayne’s trail network has grown from 21 to 66 miles in 10 years.
Ritchie also works with neighborhoods and nearby communities to connect the Fort Wayne network to the larger, regional trail system. She serves on the statewide Indiana Greenways Foundation, where she is an active trail advocate at both the state and regional levels.
Ritchie oversees multiple federal and state trail grants, walks potential trail sights, and works closely with the local non-profit for greenway advocacy, Fort Wayne Trails Inc.
The DNR helped Bloomington secure state and federal funds to develop the B-Line trail. The agency also worked with the City of Fort Wayne and Ritchie to fund multiple trail projects with both state and federal funds.