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Milltown has big plans for bridges, trails and parks

Milltown could soon be “a walk in the park.”
Or a walk from one park to another.
Milltown officials were in Corydon Monday to discuss funding possibilities for walking trails leading to three mini parks with the Harrison County Board of Commissioners. An earlier request by Milltown for riverboat funds to help on the multi-use project was shelved when the commissioners put a freeze on riverboat revenue spending for new non-county purposes.
Milltown was invited to resubmit its request in light of a pending request for financial help by leaders of the Indian Creek Trail project in Corydon. They hope to have walking and biking trails alongside Little and Big Indian creeks and, after the two converge to become Indian Creek, west to Hayswood Nature Reserve.
Now, Milltown’s town board president David Skinner said the town is nearly ready to proceed with several infrastructure improvements, including a new bridge across Blue River. The picturesque one-lane bridge would remain as a walking, biking trail, and the new bridge would be constructed slightly upriver, with the eastern approach from Main Street across the river to a new stretch of road connecting with North Main Street.
Federal funds for the bridge project have been approved in two parts. Up to $603,000 has been approved by the Indiana Dept. of Transportation for bridge construction, and $1.5 million for highway approaches. The total for both parts of the project is $2.4 million, with local funds making up the difference.
On the improvements planned for roads, sidewalk and drainage, Milltown has shifted its focus from sidewalks to multi-use paths to improve access and connections to three mini parks: one along Speed Road near Milltown Elementary School; an American Legion Post park near Main Street and S.R. 64, and a proposed park near the town’s water treatment facility along Main Road.
The town has applied for funding from INDOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program, but Skinner said an answer on that application isn’t expected until the end of the week.
Pavement repair projects totaling about $141,000 will be paid by the town.
Total expenses for the remaining improvements to roads, sidewalks and storm sewers are expected to be $944,000.
The town has applied for a $490,000 Community Focus Fund Grant to be matched by a low-interest loan from the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Program, so the amount that will be needed in riverboat funds from Harrison County depends on the outcome of the grant. If that’s approved, Skinner said, Milltown will ask for a loan from Harrison County. The projects to be funded with those funds are for improvements on the town’s Harrison County side, the other half of which is in Crawford County.
At any rate, Skinner said the riverboat funds the town has received from Crawford County’s share of revenue sharing from Harrison County has made improvements possible.
“The town has been let go for so long,” Skinner said. “Now we have a chance to come back.”
Commissioner James Goldman said, “This is a good example of where gaming money is being used effectively in the towns. You have made so many improvements. It’s a plus for the town.”