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Greenways, blueways, and making way for park & trail growth throughout the county

Friday, August 4, 2023

By: Ashley Bishop, KEDCO Intern

This story is part of a summer blog series focused on experiences in Kosciusko County through the lens of KEDCO Communications Intern, Ashley Bishop. As a K-County native and senior at Butler University, Ashley shares her inside scoop on things to do and places to see, as a 20-something living life fully in Kosciusko County.

If you’ve kept up with this blog series, you know outdoor amenities of K-County are a major part of my life between all the different parks, trails, and lakes. As of last year, Kosciusko County created the Parks & Recreation Board with a mission to connect communities throughout the county with greenways and blueways. For this blog, I got to interview a special person in my life as he just so happens to be the president of the board: my dad.  

Last week, I attended the County Commissioners Meeting to hear my dad, Rob, and fellow board member, Mike Cusick, present project plans and budgets. They proposed a greenway and blueway trail plan, an extension of trails from the Chinworth Bridge, and a launch on James Lake. Two of the three projects were approved: the Chinworth Bridge extension and the creation of a master plan for the county’s blueways and greenways. The current trail around the bridge ends at Chinworth Bridge, so the plan is to extend it to Creighton’s Crazy Egg Café and it will go through housing communities in order to connect them and allow more efficient access to trails.

I asked my dad about amenities the county currently offers and he shared that there currently aren’t any county parks. “That’s part of the mission,” he said. “We would like to build county parks for the community to use.” 

Currently, all parks are located within the City of Warsaw which is something I had not considered before. The hope is to create unity with parks throughout the county which will create a more fluid park experience. This unity will be drawn by connecting trails and blueways, offering more accessibility. 

I asked my dad Alan Tio’s favorite question: “If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change, make available, etc. within the county?” After a pause for consideration, my dad responded, “My blue sky goal is to connect the Nickel Plate Trail in Rochester to the Pumpkin Vine Trail in Goshen. My magic wand would fund this through Next Level Indiana Funds.” 

Clearly, he gave a little wink and nudge at the end of the quote there. My dad, as well as his many biking buddies, love both of those trails immensely, so I know it would improve overall trail experiences in the county if a dream such as that came to fruition. 

Is there a way to aid the parks board? Currently there is no way to financially support their efforts, but there’s been discussion about developing an entity to accept donations. Look for further information in the future!

August is the one-year anniversary of the Parks Board, and the board has already  made leaps and bounds to create a trail and lake-filled future for everyone. These continued efforts to make improvements will only solidify Kosciusko as an outdoor paradise for all to enjoy.

Kosciusko County’s trails and outdoor offerings have played a part in Ashley’s life for quite sometime.
Pictured is Ashley with friends during a Winona Lake Trail event in 2010.