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Using Recent Gift On Trails Could Up Greencastle Home Prices

One urban planning expert says if the cash is poured into trails, it may pay the city back more than other investments.

DePauw nature preserve

Photo: Aaron Spielman / Flickr

One proposal would connect the DePauw nature preserve with existing city trails.

Dozens of ideas were offered for how to spend a $100,000 gift from Heartland Automotive, but the city council elected to offer the cash to the parks department.

Mayor Sue Murray says it is unclear what the money will pay for, but says it might be spent on anything from building new trails to refurbishing an aging bandshell. But in a year where the assessed value of city property has declined sharply, paying for the trail might help offset some of those losses, according to University of Minnesota Professor Greg Lindsey, who completed a study in Indianapolis showing that trails there increased the sale price of homes near them.

“Investing in public infrastructure helps make a place more attractive, which increases demand for it, which increases value,” Lindsey says.

Still, Lindsey cautions that there’s no proof any one type of investment is absolutely the best use for the money.

“Investments in parks and trails recently have been shown to have good outcomes,” he says. “And so if we expect things in the future in Greencastle to be like other places, that’s a good one.  But whether that’s the best for Greencastle, I can’t say.”

Murray says one trail in particular the city is considering building is a path connecting the DePauw University nature preserve with the rest of the city’s existing bikeways.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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