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This year’s event was held in memory of Dr. James Gates, who was killed on June 11, 2006 while riding his bicycle in Huntington. Classic Products graciously donated embroidery, “in memory of Dr. James Gates,” on the event t-shirts. Jim’s wife, Kathy, and son, Russ, helped lead the “Bike About Aboite” ride and were instrumental in making it a successful event.In a perfect example of how local and state government can work together to make a difference for Fort Wayne citizens, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the City of Fort Wayne collectively awarded $1.5 million to Aboite New Trails, a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to the expansion of multi-use trails throughout Aboite and its neighboring communities. The City of Fort Wayne committed $500,000 and INDOT matched with a $1 million donation, which is earmarked specifically for the completion of Phase IV of the historic 4-mile Towpath, the path along the former Wabash-Erie canal. When complete, the Towpath, which stretches from Rockhill Park to Eagle Marsh, will provide a critical multi-use trail connection between the Rivergreenway's 23-mile network and the more than 40 miles of Aboite Trails. The end result will provide trail users with a 25-mile stretch of linear park between New Haven and County Line Road.

"We're deeply grateful to Senator Long, Commissioner Sharp and Mayor Richard, who helped make this partnership happen. Their commitment and collaboration is a model of how a vision, when shared by local and State partners, can become reality," said Lynn Reecer, president, Aboite New Trails.

Aboite New Trails‚ first priority for the funding will be the completion of Phase IV of the Towpath trail, which includes a pedestrian bridge over West Jefferson Boulevard, connecting Lutheran's Health Circuit and the Aboite Trails system to the Towpath and the City's Rivergreenway. The remainder of the funds will allow ANT to complete Phase I of the Aboite Trails system.

"This is a prime example of a group effort, where a dynamic grassroots organization encouraged both local and state funding in order to accomplish a valued community project," said Mayor Richard. "Together, Aboite New Trails, INDOT and the City are helping to build a vital trail connection from New Haven to the Rivergreenway and the Aboite Trails system."

The many local and State partners responsible for the funding of this grant included INDOT, Senator Long, Mayor Richard, Deputy Mayor Mark Becker, Fort Wayne Parks & Rec Commissioners and Director Al Moll, Representative Randy Borror, and Aboite New Trails volunteers and Board Members.

ANT began its formal fundraising campaign in January 2005 and now has secured funding and commitments to build Phase I of its three-phased project. There are currently nearly four miles of Aboite Trails throughout the Township with a projected three more to be complete by the end of 2006. For more information on upcoming projects visit www.aboitenewtrails.org

The Waynedale News Staff
Author: The Waynedale News Staff
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