The board meeting was kept brief in order to hear from Megan McClellan, executive director of Syracuse-Wawasee Trails Committee, and Ann Vanderford Garceau, who will present a lecture in July.
McClellan provided an update on completed and immediate future trail projects. The trail from Harkless Drive to S.R. 13 was recently completed, according to McClellan, and work will soon begin on trailheads. This will include installation of bike racks and benches.
The next project, according to McClellan, is being called “The Conklin Bay Boardwalk and Trail.” This trail will go from Harkless Drive along S.R. 13 and onto Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation Property. The trail will cut off into the wetlands on a boardwalk before returning and running parallel to S.R. 13 along the remaining WACF property.
McClellan stated the boardwalk will be wide enough for two bicycles to pass, and include environmental signage. A possible overlook is being investigated, which WPOA is helping to support financially.
The trail is meant to be an alternative means for safe transportation around the S.R. 13 curve by pedestrians and bicyclists. The project is presently in the planing and design stage.
“This is a huge project and we want to make sure it is done properly,” McClellan stated, adding there is a lot of permitting required. Surveys, studies and design are needed for the permits, which will be handled by EarthSource Inc., an engineering firm.
With two-thirds of the design funded, additional money is being sought to complete it.
“Assuming we can find the funding and get this process done, they will give us a project ready to bid,” she said. It is hoped bids will go out this winter, with construction to begin next spring. Funding for the construction is available.
The trail, according to McClellan, is being used by all ages and abilities for a lot of different things.
She provided information on a few upcoming events, and encouraged individuals to visit the website or email her firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
“Having her as an executive director has really made a lot more progress available with the trails,” said Kay Young, WPOA board president. “I think you will see great progress … so we’re starting to inch our way around Wawasee, but hopefully we’ll be going by feet or yardage.”
Garceau presented a snippet of her presentation “Wawasee Then and Now,” which she will give at 10 a.m. July 25 at the Syracuse Community Center. The presentation uses a report of the area by George Miles, made while he was the Indiana commissioner of fisheries and game. The native of Syracuse served as commissioner from 1909 until December 1914, when he passed away. His biannual report, published in 1915, paints a picture of Lake Wawasee.
Garceu will utilize the report and the words of Miles, including old photographs and recent ones of the same areas. She also had available the book she co-authored about a year ago, “Images of America Syracuse and Lake Wawasee,” Proceeds from the book go to the Syracuse Historical Museum.