News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 25, 2013

Vigo parks officials talk about opening ‘world-class’ mountain biking facility

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County Parks and Recreation board of directors on Monday tossed around the idea of opening a “world-class” mountain biking facility in Fowler Park in approximately two years.

A resolution to form a steering committee to organize and facilitate a mountain biking trail project will come before the board at its meeting next month. No vote was taken Monday night, but the board discussed the idea, which would use a portion of the 310-acre wilderness area for the proposed trail, a park official said.

If all goes well, the project could be funded with 100-percent private dollars, said Kara Kish, parks superintendent. The trail would honor Dale Griffin, a U.S. Army Sgt. killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb in 2009. Already a group of about eight people, including Griffin’s family, has expressed a strong interest in the project, Kish told the board.

Griffin was an avid mountain biker, Kish said. A call was placed late Monday evening to the Griffin’s home but family members could not be reached.

Dale Griffin graduated from Terre Haute South Vigo High School in 1999. He joined the U.S. Army after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

A “world-class” mountain biking facility at Fowler Park would become a tourism draw for the area, Kish said, adding she believes it’s a perfect project for the county parks department. It allows people to “intermix with nature and the environment but not overtake the natural environment,” she told the board, which will have the final say on the project.

There are currently 14 mountain biking trails in Indiana listed on the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association website, www.hmba.org.

n Also Thursday, the parks board received some preliminary budget figures for the department’s 2014 spending plan. The figures were incomplete because some data are not yet available, Kish told the board.

There area currently no big spending reductions planned in any park line items in 2014, she said, adding that the department’s budget is due to the Vigo County Council by July 1.

n Finally, the board learned that Wabash River Development and Beautification Inc., better known as “Riverscape,” is planning to hire experts to plan the layout for “Dewey Point,” a piece of property on the east side of West Terre Haute and part of the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area.

The plans will be pending the approval of the park board, said Kish, who serves on the Riverscape committee.

“We’re going to have some amazing talent working on” the plans, Kish told the board Monday. Riverscape, a private group, has been a driving force behind the Wabashiki project.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@trib

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