ANDERSON – Seeking to enhance a sense of community, city officials are expanding the hiking/biking trail along the White River.
Specifically, they plan to extend the existing trail east to the Rangeline Nature Preserve. The trail currently runs from Raible Avenue to Scatterfield Road.
A coherent sense of the entire city is one benefit to a trail system, according to the Nature of Cities website.
“A well-developed urban trail system delivers substantial health benefits, helps to entice and tempt residents outside, and is recognized as a key positive attribute of quality of life," the website maintains.
Last year, the administration of Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. spent $200,000 to make repairs to the walking trail around Shadyside Lake.
This year, Broderick said the city would spend another $200,000 to make improvement near the River Bend site and is clearing the walking path from Edgewater Park to Scatterfield Road.
“We want to keep it a natural area from west of Scatterfield Road to the Rangeline Nature Preserve,” Broderick said. “This year, the work will go as far east as Scatterfield Road.”
The third phase of trail improvements will take place in 2019 from the south side of Shadyside Lake to the pedestrian bridge in the downtown area.
“We’re doing all the work through the street and park departments,” Broderick said. “We have purchased new equipment to widen the trail along the river and still have the natural surroundings.”
Broderick said the trail system is an important aspect of quality of life and sense of place for city residents.
“We want to give people the opportunity to enjoy the river,” he said. “Only a small percentage of people have ever seen portions of the river as it flows through Anderson.
“We want to encourage people to use the trail system, because the area is really beautiful,” Broderick said. “The goal is to be able to walk all the way through the city along the river.”
Anderson City Councilwoman Jennifer Culp urged the administration during the 2018 budget discussions to invest more in the trail system.
“I was concerned about the condition of the trail,” she said of the path from Edgewater Park to Scatterfield Road. “It was dangerous, with trees down and, in some spots, you couldn’t see the river at all.”
Culp said she's pleased with the current efforts of the administration.
“As long as they keep it up,” she said. “The city hired people to continue to work on the trails. They need to be constantly taken care of.
“Businesses look at the quality of life,” she added. “It should be a priority. The trails are vital to the city for future growth.”
A trail system connects neighborhoods and should take people wherever they want to go, the councilwoman said.
“I would love to see the park department do more,” she noted. “But it takes time and money.”
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.