Trail system will be beneficial in many ways, says First Lady Maggie Kernan
Indiana First Lady Maggie Kernan represented her husband, Gov. Joe Kernan, and presented the Indian Creek Trail group with a check for $836,678 for a walking/running/biking trail last Wednesday at Hayswood Nature Reserve west of Corydon.
Former First Lady Judy O’Bannon of Corydon and State Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, also took part in the ceremony. O’Bannon motioned to the wooded hillside and Indian Creek behind her and said that’s exactly the place where her late husband, Gov. Frank L. O’Bannon, saw for the first time an osprey (hawk) catch a fish.
The last and longest segment of the three-mile Indian Creek Trail, yet to be built, will end at the spot where the ceremony took place, along the creek near the cul-de-sac parking lot at the nature reserve. The last section wilI be named after Frank O’Bannon, a bird watcher who died in office a year ago last month.
Bill Gerdon, the president of the Indian Creek Trail Inc., accepted the check, which comes from federal Transportation Enhancement funds. The Harrison County Commissioners and County Council and the Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau contributed the $216,000 local match to the project.
Gov. Kernan announced last month that 35 communities in 31 counties around the state had won a total of $18.3 million. One hundred and forty-one communities had applied for TE grant money, most of which comes from the federal government, Mrs. Kernan said.
‘Corydon is a city rich with Hoosier history,’ said Mrs. Kernan. ‘With the completion of the Indian Creek Trail, residents and visitors will have even more access to the sites that are so important to Indiana’s past.’ She said such projects bring beauty to the walkers, spur local investment, rekindle and attract new business, and make children want to stay here.
She said the trail system will be ‘a wonderful showcase’ for the rivers here.
And because Frank O’Bannon loved Corydon so much and enjoyed watching wildlife there, ‘It’s so fitting that you have chosen this site for him,’ she said.
Judy O’Bannon talked about the trail in terms of two of her favorite themes, community building and connectedness. She said the first pioneers settled here because of the availability of water from Big and Little Indian creeks that join above the nature reserve, but frequent floods separated settlers from that which drew them here in the first place. Now, with the skills to control the rivers, ‘we will use them in a productive way’ and bring people together again and back to nature, too.
‘Trails are all about connecting people, and that’s what made us a community,’ she said.
She said these kinds of projects have made huge differences in communities all over the state. ‘They have real solid value,’ she said.
O’Bannon commended all the different groups and individuals that acted together to design the trail system and apply for the TE funds.
Sen. Richard Young commended the trail organizers for their tenacity and ambitious plans, and Sean Hawkins, community development manager for the CVB, said it will be one of the finest walking trails in the state.
The first section of Indian Creek Trail, ‘Logan’s Trail,’ is 900 feet long and runs along Little Indian Creek from the Indian Creek General Store to Rice Island Playground. It’s named for Logan Hall, a six-year-old boy who was killed in a traffic accident in Corydon in 1998.
The William Doolittle Trail, named after the former Corydon High School band director, will run 3,000 feet alongside Big Indian Creek from the West Bridge on S.R. 62 to the North Bridge on North Capitol Avenue. That stretch is nearing completion on land owned by the Doolittle family. Doolittle’s sons, William and David, are now part of the trail committee.
The final and longest stretch, the Frank O’Bannon Trail, will run from the West Bridge to Hayswood Nature Reserve. It will require two walking bridges.