Gov. Holcomb cuts ribbon on C&O Trail • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
C&O Trail

Gov. Holcomb cuts ribbon on C&O Trail

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Officials and community members gathered in Merrillville to celebrate the completion of the C&O Trail.

The new trail marks the 100th mile of trail building under the Next Level Trails program.

“One-hundred miles is more than just a milestone achievement for Indiana,” Holcomb said in a press release. “The completion of this trail section in Lake County represents the incredible collaboration we’ve seen across the state as Hoosiers have come together with the support of our Next Level Trails program to make more connections.”

The new trail bridges a gap in the existing regional trail network. Merrillville’s section of the trail starts at Innsbrook Country Club, connecting to the existing C&O Trail. It meets Lake County’s section of the trail west of Hendricks Street. From there, the trail connects to the Oak Savannah Trail, which joins the Erie Lackawanna Trail.

Lake County Parks built the county’s 1.47-mile segment with help from an $804,160 grant. Merrillville received a $1,428,091 grant to complete its 1.35-mile portion of the trail. Both received their grants in April 2022 as a part of the third round of Indiana’s Next Level Trails program.

“This project epitomizes successful collaboration between Merrillville, Lake County and the state, bridging a crucial gap in our regional trail network,” said Rick Bella, Merrillville town council president.

The Next Level Trails grant program aims to foster efforts to connect local and regional trails. To date, the program has awarded $180 million to 89 projects across the state. Of these projects, 34 are completed. Several projects are under construction, with more scheduled to break ground later this year.

“This momentum can be felt in every corner of Indiana, and it will continue as more Hoosiers hit the trails this year,” Holcomb said.

In December 2023, Holcomb announced that 14 communities received a combined $31.2 million for 28 miles of new trail as part of the program’s fourth round.

The Next Level Trails program is a component of the governor’s Next Level Connections initiative. The initiative focuses on expanding broadband services, growing the state’s trail system, creating more nonstop international flights and completing roads projects. Announced in 2018, Next Level Connections aims to improve connections for Hoosiers throughout the state.

Caption: Gov. Holcomb celebrates the 100th mile of the Next Level Trails program with the opening of the C&O Trail extension in Merrillville and Lake County. (Provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources)


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