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Public has suggestions for Calumet Trail project

Updated: May 5, 2013 2:54PM



PORTER — John Butz showed up at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center on Wednesday evening to share his thoughts during an open house on the Calumet Trail project.

A two-mile section of the trail, between Mineral Spring and Tremont roads, is slated for replacement. The project will cost $2 million, with $1.6 million coming from federal grants and the rest from the Regional Development Authority and Porter County, which is responsible for maintaining the trail.

“I think it’s important. I think that’s where I want my tax money to go,” said Butz, of Porter, adding that he wants to have input on different aspects of the trail and how the money is spent.

The entire trail is 9.2 miles and stretches from Mineral Spring Road to Mount Baldy. The ultimate goal is to replace the entire length of the trail, said project manager Gregg Calpino, a senior landscape architect with SEH.

The section slated for replacement first is aggregate gravel that’s in bad shape and prone to flooding.

“This is the first phase of it and the most challenging because it’s the wettest and most expensive,” Calpino said, adding it also “sets the tone” for replacing the rest of the trail.

Visitors to the open house got to select various options they want for that first section and also play a “sim trail” game, where they could create a trail with different components, some more costly than others. Parts of the project under consideration include paving, drainage, trail amenities and habitat.

Officials will hold three additional public meetings to gather more information on what people want in the trail, though those have yet to be scheduled.

“We hope to be under construction in summer/fall of 2014,” Calpino said.

The Calumet Trail also links into the Dunes Kankakee Trail and is part of the Marquette Greenway Trail, Porter County Parks and Recreation Superintendent Walter Lenckos said.

“It is an important part of a region-wide trail system,” he said.



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