Pulaski County has received approval to move forward with a project that looks to improve the area’s quality of place.
The Hometown Collaboration Initiative provides planning and matching grant assistance for rural communities to focus on one of three possible topics. Economic development, leadership training, and quality of place were among them. Pulaski County opted to improve its quality of place through bike trails covering the county.
The Office of Community and Rural Affairs recently announced they have accepted Pulaski County’s plan for the program, entitled “Cranes, Trains, and Pedalmobiles.” CDC Executive Director Nathan Origer says there were a lot of meetings to get to this point.
“Doing something with quality of place at the county level is really, really difficult, and so that’s how we ended up very slowly working away from a narrow definition of quality of place to something more tourism oriented like this: something that does create quality of life opportunities for residents, but also something that buildings on our assets that attract outsiders,” says Origer.
Once Pulaski County signs the HCI agreement with OCRA, funds may be spent to finalize the project. $10-thousand is provided by the state with a $5-thousand match provided locally.
Those funds will mostly be used on signage indicating the bike trails, but will also be used to print a brochure detailing the biking opportunities around Pulaski County. Going forward, Origer says there’s still a lot of planning to do.
“What we will do is we’ll have some traffic counts done by KIRPC and we will have some volunteers actually bike the routes,” says Origer. “It’s one thing to get in the car and say ‘year, this seems like a good route’ but it’s another to actually experience it on a bicycle.”
The hope is to have everything completed by October with a grand opening lining up with Torchfest in Pulaski County and a similar project in Winamac.
Weeks of planning with the public led to this point, allowing grant approval by the state.