Creek trail designer selected
Now that the Harrison County Commissioners have approved an architectural firm for the $1.2 million third leg of the Indian Creek Trail in Corydon, Carl W. Kellem, the new president of Indian Creek Trail Committee, thinks ‘the next two years should be an exciting time.’
Kellem succeeded Bill Gerdon who asked last month to be relieved after chairing the pedway committee for seven years.
On Monday night, the commissioners followed the ICTC’s recommendation and approved the selection of Rundell-Ernstberger Associates of Muncie to design the 15,563-foot trail that would extend from the West Bridge in Corydon to the parking lot on Indian Creek in the Hayswood Nature Reserve. Two bridges will be needed. Rundell- Ernstberger has designed many trails and greenways throughout Indiana.
The trail committee was instructed by Commission Chairman J.R. Eckart to start negotiating a fee with Rundell-Ernstberger and start the design phase. Kellem thinks it could be 1-1/2 to two years before construction of the 10-foot concrete walkway begins.
The county provided 20 percent of the design and construction cost and the 80 percent came from federal transportation grant money. The commissioners and ICTC members heard proposals from four engineering firms last month. Seven had indicated they were interested in the project.
Kellem, 66, Corydon, is a retired businessman in high-tech security management who graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Naval post graduate school in Monterey, Calif. He has toured the world on naval destroyers and a nuclear submarine. For a while, he was dean of the University of Louisville School of Justice Administration. He and his wife, Elizabeth, looked on both coasts of this country trying to find the ideal place to retire, and they settled on Kellem’s hometown. (He and Corydon Town Council President Fred Cammack were classmates at Corydon High School.)
Kellem was elected president of the ICTC on June 20.
Former Purdue Extension Service Agent Jerry Dryden was elected vice president and Harrison County Community Services Director Linda Brown was re-elected secretary-treasurer.
Board member elections took place Monday night before the commissioners meeting at which they chose a firm to design the third leg of the trail next month.
Kellem said his goals are:
1. Finalize the design for the third and most ambitious leg of the trail, with input from Rundell-Ernstberger and the county commissioners, and to get the community excited along with the board. He foresees partnering with various groups like the YMCA, Friends of Harrison County Youth, Gerdon Youth Center, Convention and Visitors Bureau, South Harrison schools, the county parks department and so on.
2. Install ‘amenities’ along the trail network. For example, Kellem envisions public rest rooms, a picnic table, bench or ‘small park’ on Big Indian Creek that would afford a nice view of the Constitution Elm, and environmental ‘wading tours’ around Rice Island Playground. He said the trails will need signs, trash control and maintenance.
3. Activities and programs might include nature walks, fishing, horse patrols, youth brigades for in-line skating and skateboards, and golf carts for handicapped people.
4. Get ‘innovative people with vision’ involved. Kellem noted that Rundell-Ernstberger principal Eric Ernstberger is a well-regarded architect and native of Corydon with strong feelings about his hometown area.
5. Get scenic river designation for Indian Creek all the way from the Hayswood Nature Reserve to Harrison Springs. A mile or so beyond the Nature Reserve, Indian Creek disappears at an area called ‘the sinks.’ The water reappears several miles away at Harrison Spring. Kellem said that if Orange County can capitalize on the unusual Karst geology formations found along the Lost River, then Harrison County could do the same. He said the geographic formations here are more interesting and rare than those found northwest of here.
If Lost River claims to be the longest known subterranean river in the world, Kellem wonders how long the Binkley Cave system might run under Corydon.
At the June ICTC meeting, Kellem thanked the board and especially Bill Gerdon for his years of tireless leadership. An executive committee was formed to work closely with the architects ‘so we can start moving fast,’ Kellem said. The committee includes himself, Sean Hawkins, Claudia Howard and Bill Doolittle.
‘Historically, Corydon wouldn’t be here without the creek and the spring at the fairgrounds and the Indians. The downtown has moved away from its heritage,’ but Bill Gerdon and the board wanted to save and preserve it, Kellem said.
At the June trail meeting, members discussed the possibility of saving a couple of old Skinner Engine Co. steam generators at the abandoned Keller Furniture plant site, which lies across Big Indian Creek from the second leg of the trail. Several members of the committee thought the generators have historic and aesthetic value and might be good play things or historic relics to place along the trail, although Bill Doolittle, who owns the land through which the trail runs opposite the Keller site, objected because the creek bottom there had been designated as a future nature preserve.