Photo: Aaron Spielman / Flickr
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.