AP NEWS

Light at the end of the trail

May 15, 2019

MICHIGAN CITY – A project 15 years in the planning to build a multi-use trail across the city, and connect it with other trails that will eventually run from Chicago to Southwest Michigan, is about to get started.

The city announced Tuesday that the Indiana Department of Transportation has awarded a construction contract for Phase I of the long-awaited Singing Sands Trail.

The trail will begin on U.S. 12 on the west side – where the Calumet Trail now ends – and will end at City Hall. This portion of the trail is 2.2 miles long and will become part of the regional Marquette Trail, which begins in Illinois, goes through Northwest Indiana and will end in Michigan.

Construction of Phase 1 will begin late this summer, according to the city. Phase II should be under construction in early 2020 and Phase III is scheduled for 2021.

“The Singing Sands Trail will offer many benefits to our community and provide a means through which others can visit and explore our great community,” Mayor Ron Meer said.

“Promoting civic pride, recreational opportunities, a healthy lifestyle and the conservation of greenspace for our biking, hiking and nature-loving enthusiasts will only add to Michigan City’s appeal as a place that people want to visit, work and live.”

The trail will connect with the Calumet Trail in Porter County, and run primarily along U.S 12 on existing rights of way past the entrance to Mount Baldy, and end just outside City Hall.

The final two phases will extend the trail down Eighth Street, Michigan Boulevard and over Peanut Bridge before ending at the Michigan state line.

In 2017, the City Council approved an ordinance to allocate $256,000 in riverboat funds to help pay for construction of the first leg of the trail, estimated at $2.2 million. The remainder of the city’s $609,000 share of the cost had already been placed in the budget. Federal funds will cover the rest of the price.

The second phase of the trail is estimated to cost about $1.3 million, and no estimate for the final phase has been tallied because the work is in the design and engineering stage. Federal and local funds will be used to pay for the final two legs.

Planning work on the trail started in 2003, but right of way acquisition took several years to complete.

“There have been many obstacles and roadblocks along the way, but through hard work and perseverance, my administration, led by Assistant Park Supt. Shannon Eason, has been committed to seeing this project through,” Meer said.

—From staff reports