A two-mile expansion of Zionsville’s primary hiking and biking trail is a step closer to a continuous 30-mile trail through Boone and Clinton Counties.

The Big-4 Trail runs in the corridor of the old Louisville-to-Chicago Big-4 Railroad, past the current Zionsville town hall. A two-million-dollar grant from the state’s Next Level Trails fund roughly doubles the Zionsville portion of the trail, adding a mile to either end and connecting it to the new Overley-Worman Park.

The state announced another round of grants next month, including money for both Zionsville and Whitestown to close the final two-mile gap in the trail between the two cities. That round of grants also includes money for Lebanon and Colfax, which eventually will create an unbroken 30-mile trail ending in Zionsville.

In all, Governor Holcomb has earmarked 150-million dollars to expand Indiana’s 510-mile trail network. The latest round of grants will add another 165 miles to that total.

Holcomb has announced a goal of having every Hoosier within five miles of a trail. He says he regularly hears from legislators and mayors urging the state to go even further than it has in funding trail expansions.

Rails to Trails Conservancy president Ryan Chao says Indiana has gone over the last 30 years from one of the least trail-friendly states to one of the most. He presented Holcomb with the group’s annual Rail-Trail Champions award.

Chao says the conservancy is more than halfway to its goal of creating a fully connected, coast-to-coast network of the nation’s 25-thousand miles of disused rail corridors. He says making those connections of trail segments increases trail use by 40-to-80-percent.

Holcomb and Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron both say a connected trail network not only boosts economic development by attracting businesse and workers, but creates a greater sense of community, through trail users who meet along the trail, and by linking cities to each other.

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