Officials gathered to break ground this morning on the Northside Trail in Portage. The one-point-13 mile trail, with a trailhead literally right outside the offices of Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) where the groundbreaking ceremony was held, will include paved multi-use surface, soft-surface pedestrian trail and boardwalks.
Portage Mayor James Snyder says it's an important part of providing ways to let residents get to Lake Michigan not only by car but also by pedestrian and bike traffic, and one day, down the road, by kayak and canoe. Mayor Snyder says the trail will be ready for the public to use next month.
Planners say the project also includes reforestation with more than two-hundred new trees. NIRPC Nonmotorized Transportation and Greenways Planner Mitch Barloga says it represents another link in the development of a three-state trail, from Chicago, Illinois, to New Buffalo, Michigan, with Portage in the center of that network. Barloga says the trail will also include an at-grade, on-street, crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists on State Road 249, and that will be near Ameriplex Drive.
[Photos/Laura Waluszko for Radio One Communications]