Most noteworthy, is the new lease agreement between Niles Township and American Electric Power Co. (AEP) that is in the works. AEP owns a high power line that goes from near the current Niles trail, down to the State Line; they will lease part of the property to Niles Township. Harry Thibault, chairman of the Niles Township Parks Board envisions running the trail down part of that property.
Obtaining rights to that property is only one step: the next step is funding. Thibault said “We’re hoping to apply for grants by the April 12 deadline…We’re running around like crazy to get our ducks in a row.”
Meanwhile St Joseph County, Indiana is also moving forward. Steve Slauson, Deputy Director of the St. Joseph County Parks reported that the county is applying for funding for the LaSalle Trail. This is the portion of the IN-MI trail that will run from the state line southward toward Roseland. The county applied for funding in 2011, but the application yielded no fruit, and will try again this year.
South Bend is slated to break ground on the last missing segment of the Northside Trail. According to Chris Dressel, South Bend Bicycle Coordinator, the ground breaking will be April of this year, and should be completed before next fall. This segment will close the gap between the trail’s current end near IUSB and the Mishawaka Riverwalk at Logan Street.