A local fundraising effort culminated in the presentation of a check in excess of $40,000 for the Panhandle Pathway. Dan and Virginia Dolezal, co-chairs of Panhandle Pathway’s Pave the Trail to Town fundraiser, presented the donation to the board of directors at the business meeting on March 26. Dan Dolezal said the original goal was $39,000, but after kicking off the effort on Nov. 1, the group had raised more than their original goal by Feb. 25. The fundraising continued until March 31, and Dolezal said they had raised $41,075 by that time.
When the check was presented the group had raised $40,525, but shortly afterward another $550 donation had rolled in. Dolezal said the majority of donors were from the Winamac area; a combination of businesses, organizations, corporations, and individuals from the Winamac area made up the bulk of the donations, but he said a few outliers made donations as well.
Dolezal said the group decided to raise the funds to complete the pathway and have it paved after the project funds ran out before the trail could be completed.
“They had everything done; they had brought in a tremendous amount of fill to get to this area, they had it compacted, graveled, and then they ran out of money. I thought, well, it’s nice gravel, but a lot of folks don’t like to ride or walk or run on gravel. So we said, ‘How are we going to do this?’ and that’s when we said we’ll do the fundraiser,” Dolezal said.
The money will go toward paving the remaining 0.42 miles to complete the pathway, bringing the trail to connect to the Winamac linear park, continuing from that point on to the railroad depot and then north to Highway 14.
Now, Dolezal said, they’re just waiting on construction season to get underway so the path can be paved and pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists can make use of the beautiful paved trail.