Press release: Karst Farm Greenway marks 50th mile of Next Level Trails

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian this week:

For immediate release: December 20, 2022

Karst Farm Greenway marks 50th mile of Next Level Trails

The DNR and Monroe County Parks and Recreation celebrated the opening of a newly completed segment of the Karst Farm Greenway in Monroe County on Dec. 6.

The 2.67-mile asphalt extension accommodates both pedestrians and cyclists and was made possible by a grant of more than $2.33 million from the DNR Next Level Trails (NLT) program. The greenway extension is the 15th NLT project to be completed and marks the 50th mile of trail funded by NLT.

The project extends the existing 4.5-mile trail north to Highway 46 in Ellettsville. The entire trail now covers approximately 7.3 uninterrupted miles.

The trail makes major connections between the Town of Ellettsville and the City of Bloomington, including linking Karst Farm Park, Campbell’s Park, and several residential areas and educational campuses. The Duke Energy Foundation served as a major partner for the project, providing the county with a substantial grant for trail amenities.

“When Governor Holcomb announced the Next Level Trails program, he prioritized projects that would connect communities to one another,” said DNR director Dan Bortner. “This project is a prime example of the importance of such connections.

“The DNR is proud to partner with Monroe County Parks and Recreation to complete this major trail extension.”

In April, the Town of Ellettsville was awarded a third-round NLT grant of more than $1.13 million to build the Heritage Trail, a 2.11-mile extension will connect to the completed Karst Farm Greenway. That project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Once finished, that effort will create a continuous paved trail of nearly 10 miles between Bloomington and Ellettsville.

“Monroe County’s goal is regional trail connectivity,” said Kelli Witmer, director of Monroe County Parks & Recreation. “The Next Level Trails grant program is critical in developing a trail system from McCormick’s State Park/Spencer to Bloomington/Ellettsville.

“The DNR-NLT support allowed the vital trail connection via Karst Farm Greenway between Ellettsville and Bloomington possible.”

As part of the governor’s Next Level Connections initiative, NLT is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history. The $150 million program is administered by the DNR and facilitates critical trail connections within and between Hoosier communities. To date, NLT has awarded nearly $120 million to 73 projects across the state. Approximately 140 miles of trail are under development.

Progress on all Next Level Trails projects can be found here. NLT objectives and more information on the grants program is at on.IN.gov/nextleveltrails.

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