Duathlon to raise money for trails

Seymour Parks and Recreation Department is getting back on track with fundraising efforts for the development of trails in and around the city.

After a failed attempt to raise money through a weight-loss competition earlier this year, the city is now planning a duathlon in the fall.

That event, which includes running and biking, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 13 at Freeman Field Sports Complex.

Further details about the duathlon, including cost and how to sign up, will be made available at a later date.

“We are in the very early stages of planning,” said Brent Jameson, parks and recreation director. “We still have a lot of details to work out.”

Seymour Board of Public Works and Safety approved a request for the event Thursday from Jameson.

The board also gave its approval for Jameson to apply for a grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson County. That money also would be used to help create an interconnected system of trails for walking, jogging and biking throughout the city.

The deadline to submit the grant application is July 31, Jameson said.

Plans for the city’s trails system are to develop a network of nearly 75 miles of on-street bike lanes, sidewalks and off-street multiuse trails.

The total cost for the project, including engineering, design and construction expenses, is estimated at $3.4 million. The bulk of the cost is expected to be paid for through grants and fundraising.

The planned network primarily follows the city’s existing street system. Wide streets with low traffic counts and low posted speed limits were chosen for nearly all routes to connect key destinations for commuters and to create loops for recreational users.

It’s an ambitious but long-term blueprint for a project that will provide better connectivity between popular locations in the city, increase opportunities for exercise and recreation and give people another option for transportation, officials said.

The city adopted an official bicycle and pedestrian plan in May that outlines where the facilities will be.

One of the biggest hurdles now is raising the funds needed to begin construction of the first phase of priority routes.

The first priority route is 7.6 miles on the city’s north side and includes a combination cycle track on Stadium Drive and multiuse trail on Community Drive, new sidewalks along Stadium and Lasher drives, a connector bike lane along Second Street to O’Brien Street, a looped combination cycle track along Fourth Street to Burkart Boulevard and more sidewalks on Fourth Street.

A cycle track is similar to a bike lane but provides an actual physical buffer, such as a median or other barrier, between cyclists and motor traffic.

A southwest route would provide 10.8 miles of bike lanes and multiuse trails along Chestnut Street through Gaiser Park to Gaiser Drive, Glenbrook Drive and Walnut Street and connect to trails in Freeman Field Industrial Park. Bike lanes then would follow a path from Airport Road to McDonald Street, Kasting Road, Laurel Street and back to Chestnut. The route also would include a multiuse trail along G Avenue East.

Although Jameson believes the plan can be implemented, he said it won’t happen overnight.

“This is more of a marathon than a sprint,” he said of the time it will take to complete the trails.

At a glance

Donations to the Seymour Parks and Recreation pedestrian trails program may be sent to City Hall.

Checks and money may mailed to or dropped off at City Hall, 309 N. Chestnut St., Seymour, IN 47274.

Checks should be made out to Seymour Parks and Recreation Department.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Donations should indicate the money is for trails development.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.