For Immediate Release
MUNCIE—Local trails recently received a funding boost through grants from Ball Brothers Foundation.
A grant of $225,000 will support the construction of the second phase of a multi-use trail on the southeast side of Prairie Creek Reservoir. An existing .86 mile trail currently provides a scenic view of wetlands, forest, and expansive views of the water. This existing trail will be lengthened by approximately two additional miles through the Ball Brothers Foundation grant which was awarded to Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District. The grant also supports costs for a new parking lot and trailhead to be constructed at the corner of county roads 544E and 650S. This will provide easy access for walkers, cyclists, cross-country skiers, and others wishing to use the recreational trail. Additionally, the new trail will meet ADA standards for accessibility.
“Prairie Creek Reservoir is a real gem for Muncie. The build-out of this trail along Prairie Creek will offer spectacular views of nature and will further contribute to making this area’s trail system one of the best in the state of Indiana,” said Jud Fisher, President and COO of Ball Brothers Foundation.
Ultimately, the trail’s proponents hope to extend the trail in order to connect other Prairie Creek-area amenities—including The Sailing Club, Bathhouse and Beach, and Campground—to the nearby Red-tail Nature Preserve and to the Cardinal Greenway trail which extends north into Muncie. This would create nearly seamless trail access from Muncie to Prairie Creek-area amenities.
The Cardinal Greenway also received support from Ball Brothers Foundation for trails, though funding is directed primarily to maintenance of existing trails and ongoing operations rather than new construction. “After many busy years of trail building, the Cardinal Greenway organization’s focus has shifted from trail construction to trail maintenance. When one thinks about the many miles of paved trail we now have on the ground, this change was inevitable. The private support we receive from Ball Brothers Foundation, other local foundations, and corporate and individual donors is vital as we strive to keep the Cardinal Greenway trail system in the shape our many trail users have become accustomed to,” commented Angie Pool, Cardinal Greenway’s CEO.
The Cardinal Greenway is Indiana’s longest rail-trail, stretching 62 miles. Spanning five counties, the trail passes through twelve Indiana cities and towns including Marion, Muncie, and Richmond. The paved asphalt trail follows the rail corridor that was last used by the “Cardinal” passenger train which traveled the route. Host to an estimated quarter of a million trail users annually, the rail-trail is part of the coast-to-coast American Discovery Trail.
While significant state and federal dollars were available for trail construction over the past two decades, these funding sources provide very limited support for trail maintenance. A funder of the Cardinal Greenway since its very beginning, Ball Brothers Foundation recognizes the need for ongoing maintenance and operations and is directing the new $350,000 grant—which will be spread across two years—to help the Cardinal Greenway as it works to secure on-going revenues to meet these needs.
One additional trail—Henry County’s Wilbur Wright Trail—also received support from Ball Brothers Foundation. A grant totaling $40,000 will assist with construction efforts to extend the trail around the southern boundary of the Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area. Currently, the 2 mile scenic trail stretches from the Henry County YMCA through prairies and deep woods, past farm fields, and along the Big Blue River to a trailhead. The extension around the Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area will add 1.1 miles to the trail which has become a favorite for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and others.
“Ball Brothers Foundation recognizes that the impact of trails is tremendous. In East Central Indiana, our trails are scenic ‘linear parks’ that are a source of pride and community identity, linking our small towns and cities together and drawing visitors to our region,” said BBF’s Fisher. “For our residents, trails provide convenient, safe, and easy-to-access places to exercise and connect with nature. We also know that trails can help drive economic development. For all of these reasons, Ball Brothers Foundation is proud to support trails in our region.”
A listing of other grants approved during Ball Brothers Foundation’s first grantmaking cycle of 2015 is available at www.ballfdn.org.
With assets exceeding $165 million, Ball Brothers Foundation annually makes grants in support of arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services and public affairs. The Muncie-based family foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in BBF’s home city, county and state.