By Keith Knepp
During Monday evening’s meeting of the Syracuse-Wawasee Trails Committee, it was announced they will hold their inaugural fundraiser, “Life Is Better on the Trail,” from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 29, at Blue Barn Berry Farm, located at 9139 N. 300E, Syracuse. Tickets for the event are $75 per person or $500 for a table of eight.
The public is invited to join the committee for an evening of great food, drinks and friends. Attendees can learn how an investment in the trails leads to further expansion around Syracuse and Lake Wawasee, and “health and happiness for years to come.”
Additionally, the committee has been diligently seeking local businesses to donate goods and services for a silent auction that will be held that evening. The event begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., including a cash bar and heavy appetizers, and is scheduled to conclude after the silent auction winners are announced at 8:30 p.m.
Invitations have been ordered and will be mailed to donors by the end of the month. The public is invited, as well. Anyone wishing to attend is invited to RSVP by Thursday, July 22, to Erlene Yentes, executive director of the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail, at (260) 668-1815, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, work continues behind the scenes as members continue to consider the ongoing feasibility study for expanding the trail around Syracuse and the lakes. Monday evening’s meeting once again began with a report by Wyatt Huber, project manager and roadway design engineer with USI Consultants Inc., the Indianapolis firm hired to conduct the study.
Huber noted representatives from USI were in Syracuse May 27-28 to conduct a site visit. As a result of that visit, he was able to provide overhead satellite views of the proposed trail expansion areas, which included color-coded highlights and notes that highlighted concerns and other features that could impact the eventual path and construction of the trail.
The report included conceptual alignments for roadway designs as well as a design concept overview. Throughout the presentation of specific portions of the proposed trail, committee members were afforded the opportunity to ask questions and offer thoughts on the report. Additionally, alternate routes were also discussed based on community input.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Huber noted he planned to attend the next meeting in person, which is scheduled at 5 p.m. Monday, July 19.
In other business, the committee:
- Considered old business, including the receipt of a $10,000 check from the Wawasee Property Owners Association, representing a matching gift from money raised by the committee to be used for the ongoing feasibility study.
- Approved moving forward into acquiring its own 501(c)(3) status, estimated to cost $1,500. This would represent a separation from the Syracuse Parks Department.
- Learned approximately 250 bicycle riders are registered for the annual Tour de Lakes, scheduled to take place Saturday, July 17.
- Noted the summer newsletter has been proofed and will be mailed by June 30.
- Discussed ongoing trail maintenance issues, including an incident that took place May 16 resulting in a bicycle accident on the trail.Users of the trail are reminded the Conklin Bay Boardwalk will be closed from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 26, for the Women of Today 5K.