The new executive director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation Trail Committee, Megan McClellan, was introduced at Monday’s meeting in Syracuse.
Although McClellan and her family are still in the process of moving from Cincinnati, she is hard at work learning more about the community and diving into as much trail-related work as possible.
McClellan suggested a strategic plan. At the next meeting, she said the committee needs to discuss future goals, both short and long term.
“There’s lots of great things for a trail,” she told the committee.
She said it’s important to start prioritizing goals and then start accomplishing certain tasks. She said it’s important to start tracking monthly volunteer hours, especially when applying for matching grants.
Trail maintenance, signage and striping were also discussed. Chad Jonsson submitted a report and update on signage.
Signage details along the trail have been completed and will be installed in the near future. Premier Signs, Goshen, will be installing posts and signs, and, he noted, “we are in their work schedule.”
The committee is working with the county highway department on installing the signs in designated areas. Sixteen signs will be installed along areas such as Eli Lilly Road.
As for grants, paid invoices and a letter has been sent to the Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau for reimbursement; he has not heard about any other applications.
Several members gave an update on various trail projects. Harkless Drive has no real update since last month. The plan is to work with Syracuse next year on this project.
The athletic complex trail has been installed. The area along Brooklyn Street has been disturbed as there is an ongoing stormwater project. However, the trail has been used quite often, during the day and also during football practices the past couple of weeks.
The Syracuse Lake portion of the trail, along North Shore Drive, will be completed by Oct. 15.
The trail near Chinese Gardens, where there are bridges, is used by snowmobilers in the winter. It was suggested bollards, which deter certain vehicles, be installed so the trail doesn’t get ruined.
A state and federal grant application for a trail paralleling SR 13 was turned down. The committee is now looking at an alternate way to extend trails to the south side of Lake Wawasee. The committee is in preliminary talks with the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation. The idea is to build a boardwalk trail across part of the Conklin Bay Wetlands, and then proceed across land owned by the conservancy.
Donn Baird gave the treasurer’s report. Donations totaled $72,846 and money was spent on 2,500 copies of the trail map.
The committee also discussed setting up an account at a local retailer for supplies. McClellan said a clear budget and accounting system needs to be implemented she said she will handle.
An office for McClellan was discussed. She said space is available at the chamber’s office, but first the chamber board must approve the space option.
New committee member Jodi Buhrt was present at the meeting.
A fundraiser for the trail is Sept. 13 at North Webster Community Center. The show, the Gatlins, includes dinner and costs $35 a ticket; tickets can be obtained at Todd Realty, Syracuse.
The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Sept. 15.