The town of Montezuma has been awarded a Wabash River Heritage Corridor grant to improve camping facilities and develop a trail in Reeder Park.
Montezuma will receive $119,922, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resource.
The town was one of five grant recipients, with payouts totaling $420,983, announced last week by the DNR in conjunction with the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission. The grants are aimed at increasing access sites and river camping opportunities along the river.
Bob Bronson, DNR grant section chief, said Montezuma’s match portion is $29,981 of the $119,922 total grant. The project includes improving camping areas and rehabilitating a restroom facility, including adding showers.
In addition, an access route will be added to connect the camping area to a boat ramp.
“It will not be done this year, as there are environmental clearances and such, but we hope to have this done in a couple of years,” Bronson said. The agreement with the DNR states the project must be done within four years, but Bronson said sooner is better, because material prices can increase over time.
Parke County Commissioner Jim Meese called the project “exciting. Montezuma is my poster child for community development, they just do great stuff,” Meese said.
“I think it will be a draw for people. We are also talking with them about developing the hookup with them on a rails-to-trails project to get a trail from Rosedale to them at some point in the future as well. We will see how that works out,” Meese said.
Meese said the town can also use labor and town equipment as part of its match requirement.
Montezuma, a town of 1,022 residents according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is located on the western border of Parke County along the Wabash River, where U.S. 36 crosses the river.
The other grants: Historic Forks of the Wabash, $56,000 for camping and canoe access to Ehler Island in Wabash County; Banks of the Wabash Inc., $65,550 for camping and small boat access at Pittsburg Riverfront Park in Carroll County; town of Attica, $139,511 to enhance camping at Ouabache Park in Fountain County; and Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal Inc., $40,000 for a bridge over the canal and trail at Wabash & Erie Canal Park in Carroll County.
Funding for the projects comes from mineral extraction royalties from oil under the Wabash River. The program will fund approximately $300,000 in projects every other year, Bronson said.
The heritage corridor commission was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote and enhance the Wabash River, Indiana’s state river. The commission consists of individuals from each of the 19 Indiana counties through which the Wabash runs, along with representatives from state government.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.