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Valparaiso’s newest Pathway, Vale Park West, received the 2017 Outstanding Trail Project Award at the Greenways Foundation of Indiana’s Annual Luncheon held in Carmel on June 13, 2017. The Indiana Greenways Foundation Awards are presented to those individuals, organizations, communities, corporations and projects that have exhibited outstanding excellence in advancing greenways or multi-use trail development throughout Indiana. Lauren Orchard, Economic Development Coordinator with the Valparaiso Economic Redevelopment Commission was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the many City Departments that contributed to this effort along with Chris Waidner, Vice President of Transportation for The Troyer Group, designer of the Pathway. Mitch Barloga, Transportation Planning Manager/Active Transportation Planner of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) also serves as the Greenways Awards Chairman.
The construction of Vale Park West was achieved through a successful partnership with NIRPC, whose staff assisted Valparaiso in the process of securing a Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant to fund 80% of the $1.6 Million cost of engineering, land acquisition, and construction. Valparaiso contributed 20% of this cost through its Redevelopment Commission, as the Pathway is an investment in developing the Northwest section of the City. City Project Manager Don McGinley worked in collaboration with additional project partners that included INDOT and Gariup Construction. Valparaiso is proud of the collaboration required for this project and believes that the Vale Park West expansion not only serves the local community, but also benefits the Northwest Indiana region by widening opportunities to connect with regional pathways. City Engineering, lead by Tim Burkman, spearheaded the project since inception. Pathway ongoing stewardship will be driven by the Valpo Parks Dept.
Vale Park West winds through forest, prairie, and wetland, connecting Campbell Street to 700 homes that previously were accessible only by car. As its name suggests, Vale Park West is an addition to the existing Vale Park pathway, which runs 1 ½ miles from Calumet Avenue to Campbell Street and is part of Valparaiso’s 18.75-mile pathway system. The addition is a 10-foot wide off-surface trail and features a 12-foot wide bridge over Beauty Creek, making the pathway accessible to emergency vehicles and convenient for ADA users.
Along with these features, Vale Park West contributes to broader pathway benefits by encouraging alternative transit, diversifying recreational opportunities, linking neighborhoods together, creating gathering spaces, and inspiring the appreciation of the natural world. For more information regarding Valparaiso Pathways please visit: http://valpoparks.org/432/Valpo-Pathways. For more information about the Indiana Greenways Awards categories, please visit: www.greenwaysfoundation.org