Next Level Trails grant will fund Aurora Trail Connector

Aurora Trail Connector

On April 20, Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Bortner announced 38 communities and non-profit organizations will receive a combined $65 million for 77 miles of new trail development as a part of the third round of the Next Level Trails program.

The awards include a $974,325 grant to the City of Aurora for the Aurora Connector Trail project.

“Trails connect communities together in such a personal way and are perfect pathways to good mental and physical well-being,” Gov. Holcomb said. “These continued quality-of-life investments will reap generational economic and tourism development dividends and further showcase Indiana’s incredible outdoor experiences.”

According to the announcement, the Aurora Trail Connector will provide 0.3 miles of trail that serves as a critical connection for areas of the community that are currently disjointed by the US-50 corridor and adjacent CSX railroad. This project connects to the existing bike lane on George Street, which further connects to the existing 4-mile Lawrenceburg/Aurora Rail Trail. The new trail could help spur riverfront development and downtown revitalization in Aurora.

Aurora Mayor Mark Drury said, “I feel really good about this being a game changer, because I feel like we have been disconnected from one side of town to the other, and this will make that connection possible. I can see no downsides to this project. It is going to change the atmosphere and connectivity of the parks.”

Derek Walker, the city manager for Aurora, played a key role in preparing the grant application. He said the 2020 One Dearborn County Trails Report authored by Aurora resident Jack Sutton was important supporting evidence.