A project to connect Tecumseh High School with Lynnville through 2 miles of trails will get a boost thanks to support from the Warrick County Council.
In last week's regular meeting, the council approved a move to give the project, headed by Warrick Trails, a $300,000 boost. The funds will come from the county's economic development fund.
Larry Taylor, Warrick County Economic Development executive director, said the town of Lynnville and Warrick Trails will also pitch in matching funds to support the project, which is expected to cost a total of $566,000. He said the trail will ultimately connect Tecumseh High School, Lynnville Park and The Museum of the Coal Industry to the Lynnville Community Center.
Taylor said he has driven the stretch of State Road 68 between the school and Lynnville after school and has seen students walking alongside heavy truck traffic.
He said in many places there is not much of a shoulder along the road and there are no sidewalks between the town and the school.
"The first time I did that, it kind of shocked me to see that there's students walking along that State Route 68," he said.
Tecumseh High School principal Joshua Susott said the trails will greatly improve safety for the students as well as promote healthy activities. With the move to bring the school's athletic fields on campus, he said the community as a whole will benefit from the trail.
"It's an important thing for our community," he said. "It'll take a community effort, but it's another thing our community is behind and already showing great progress toward."
Ultimately, Taylor said the project was recommended by the Warrick County Economic Development Advisory Board and aligns with the goals of Warrick County Economic Development.
He said the project isn't only about safety, but also about encouraging people to live in Warrick County.
"We think that these kinds of activities and
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connectivities support our economic development efforts by making it a nicer place to live," he said.
Warrick Trails president Steve Roelle said the organization believes that the project is an important step to improve the lives of residents in the Lynnville area and hopes to move forward with the construction in spring or summer of next year. He said the project fits all of the goals of Warrick Trails alongside similar projects across the county.
"Warrick Trails really believes this is a community-changing initiative," he said. "We believe that the families and students and residents in northern Warrick County deserve some of the same quality of life improvements that are going on elsewhere."
Lynnville Town Council president Stacy Tevault said the town is also participating in the project by committing to maintaining the trails as well as contributing $50,000 to the project.
She said the town will make sure the trail isn't just built, but remains for the future.
"The town has made that commitment to make sure the path is taken care of after it's been built," she said.
Roelle said that with the support of Lynnville and Warrick County, Warrick Trails will be able to raise funds for the rest of the cost of the project and make the Tecumseh Trails happen.
"We really believe, with the support of the county and with this grant from the council, that locally we're going to be able to raise the rest of those funds over the winter, we're going to break ground in 2019 and this will be a completed trail that can start impacting lives of the residents up there for decades to come," he said.
With the approval of the funds, the project is set to move forward. For information on the Tecumseh Trails or other Warrick Trails initiatives, visit their website at www.warricktrails.org.
The Warrick County Council will meet again on Thursday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m.