By GAIL ROACH
For The Times
The Harmony Town Council met Tuesday night at the Van Buren Township Firehouse. Janice Gooch reported that she had contacted Wabash Valley Asphalt to take out two of the speed bumps on Elm Street. They will not start asphalt work for another 2-3 weeks. It was also reported that Seymour Street was in need of rock and that will be handled right away.
Greg Midgley from the National Road Heritage Trail attended the meeting to bring information about the not-for-profit group and their efforts to get the trail constructed in several communities. He handed out brochures that explained the advantages and proposed route. The NRHT is a proposed system of multi-use trails built along the former Pennsylvania, Vandalia, and electric interurban railway corridors from Terre Haute to Indianapolis to Richmond. When completed, the trail would be for pedestrians, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Midgley explained that in states like Missouri, where the state has taken over funding and maintenance of such projects, the trail is beautifully done. In Indiana, volunteers and other interested parties are working to bring a similar corridor between the towns.
Much of the old railroad is now publicly or privately owned. Some communities have already adopted those pieces of property. In some areas the NRHT has been able to buy the old railroad land. In others, land owners provide an easement as long as the trail stays non-motorized. The advantage to following the old railroad lines is that the bed is already laid and most still remain fairly cleared. Various spots along the route have already been put to use and must be bypassed. Brazil, Terre Haute, Greencastle and other communities have already begun plans for a trail. Some are under construction. By appearing at town meetings, the NRHT can make other communities aware of the project and the trail can be put into long-term planning.
The Town Council endorsed the National Road Heritage Trail as a worthwhile project to help the community. It is believed that the NRHT would enhance the proposed Highway 40 Corridor Beautification Project for Harmony and provide an alternative, safe route for families and tourists to move from one town to another via bicycles, horses, and on foot. Some of us will remember walking to Knightsville along the old railroad tracks, which probably was not a very safe thing to do. If the Heritage Trail were completed, the path would be like a very nice, safe, natural setting (similar to a state park trail) that is 150 miles long. If you would like more information on the NRHT, you can write or email them:
Greg Midgley (NRHT, Inc)
P.O. Box 402
Indianapolis, IN 46206-0402