OAKLAND CITY — Mayor Hugh Wirth says plans are moving slowly, but surely, on a walking trail project that has been in the works for almost 11 years.
City council members approved an additional appropriation of $12,000 for the project to pursue the Good Start walking and bike path leading to Wirth Park.
Wirth said the additional monies will come from the use of Economic Development Income Tax funds.
Wirth reported he met with members of the Good Start organization and Midwest Engineering last week to discuss the project.
“This has been going on for some time and as usual, when a project goes on in time, the price increases,” he said.
The path is slated to run from West Street to Wirth Park.
“All the easements have been secured,” the mayor said.
According to Wirth, total cost for the project is $227,500. The local match portion is $37,500.
“We also received a grant from Duke Energy for $10,000. We agreed at that time that it would go toward the walking path," Wirth said.
He said the city’s original match, he thought, was $5,000, but construction overrun costs have added a additional $12,000 to the original bid.
Wirth says they hope to start construction this spring.
“It’s going to a great asset,” he said
The Good Start has also arranged financing for their contribution to the project.
“Once they sign the loan agreement with whatever firm they decide to utilize, we get a copy of the contract," the mayor said. "That’s when I feel we would be willing to submit our portion of the proceeds.”
Good Start President Charlotte Gray said the community driven non-profit organization's focus is on enhancing and beautifying Oakland City. She says the group came up with the idea of the bike/walking trail as a way for residents to enjoy activities around town safely.
“We wanted people to be able to get out to the park without having to get on the Ind. 64 corridor, which is always really busy and can be dangerous,” Gray said. “A lot of times you see people on motorized scooters or kids on bikes, or people pushing baby strollers around that road.
"This trail provides a way to get around safely.”
Good Start also organizes the city’s Christmas parade, erects signs around town, and does cleanup work on community properties.