A new report suggests Bedford city leaders invest more in park and trail infrastructure and do a better job of applying for grants to fund such improvements.
A group of students from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs presented the findings to the Bedford City Council Tuesday as part of a public service course, along with applications for grants designed to pay for the improved city parks and six to seven miles of pedestrian and biking trails included in the plan.
Bedford has considered the Rails-to-Trails program in the past, but a lack of funding stalled prior plans. Students suggested funding and completing the projects in phases to help offset the costs.
Mayor Shawna Girgis believes the student presentation helped demonstrate to the council that building the trail is possible in Bedford.
“I agree with the piece we talked about today with phasing because it would be expensive to actually asphalt the entire six miles,” she says. “But, we could look at it in phases so we could make it feasible for us and seize that opportunity. It just would take a bit of time.”
SPEA student, Deven Hottell, who spoke about the trail at the meeting, believes it’ll make Bedford a more attractive place to live and foster a healthy city.
“I feel like it’s going to be a step in the right direction as far as building the community up, giving them something safe to do, and being able to get out there in nature and actually enjoy themselves while getting good physical activity,” Hotell says.
A committee will meet in December to talk about the next steps for the trail.