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County government guarantees continuation of Indian Creek Trail

The Harrison County Council and Commissioners, the Harrison County Park and Recreation Dept., and the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Board all deserve to be congratulated for coming together in a far-sighted way and approving the funding and administrative oversight for the Indian Creek Trail project in Corydon.
Last month, the council, chaired by Gary Davis, assured the construction of the 3,000-foot second leg of the trail by appropriating $45,000 of the estimated $90,000 cost. The other $45,000 will come from designated funds approved by the Convention and Visitors Board, headed by Michael Wiseman.
The second leg of the eight-foot-wide concrete trail will run from the West Bridge through an uninhabited stretch of woods and bottomland alongside Big Indian Creek, opposite the Keller Manufacturing Co. plant, to the North Bridge. Well, to be honest, the area is inhabited: several Great Blue Herons and other impressive birds are often seen there, gracefully flying overhead and poking their long beaks into the water looking for meals.
The first leg of the trail, about 900 feet of concrete, was built in 2001, from the Indian Creek General Store to Rice Island Playground.
The next leg of the trail may be a short trail from the North Bridge to the YMCA, now under construction in north Corydon, or a rather ambitious mile-long route from the West Bridge all the way along Indian Creek to Hayswood Nature Reserve, southwest of Corydon. The latter project, easily the most ambitious yet, will probably involve a couple of pedestrian bridges and cost $600,000. Fortunately, the county council has already agreed to put up 20 percent or $120,000 in earnest money to attract a big Indiana Transportation Enhancement grant this year. The federal government provides big bucks and looks favorably on this kind of long-term, community improvement project.
Getting the trail into the ground has been a real challenge for Bill Gerdon and his Indian Creek Trail board since the idea for a creekwalk first came into being in 1996 and a far-sighted Purdue University professor, Kent Schuette, invited his architecture and landscape design students to study the two creeks in Corydon and create some plans. They were very attractive, ingenious and idealistic. A rampaging, 100-year flood not long after the exhibition of those drawings showed that some of them were totally impractical.
Neverthless, a small but persistent group of interested citizens took on the project, then it became a non-profit corporation, and then the group realized it would need a lot of money to complete the project, preferably with tax revenue generated by Caesars’ riverboat and controlled by various departments of county government.
The CVB would not help fund the project unless it were a government capital project, so the Indian Creek Trail people, with a big nudge from Davis and Councilman Carl Duley, turned to the park and recreation board, headed by Larry Shickles, for administrative assistance. That board agreed. Construction will start on the West Bridge-North Bridge segment as soon as good weather returns.
The Indian Creek Trail won’t attract thousands of tourists to Corydon each summer, but it will provide a nice, constant, healthful source of recreation for walkers, runners, bicyclists and birders, young and old alike, for many years to come. It will be unique, and it will help keep the center of Corydon viable and interesting, and it will probably survive everyone who has had a hand in creating it.

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