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The Indiana DNR, Next Level Trails (NLT) and the City of Kendallville opened the recently completed Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail in Kendallville yesterday.

The 0.90-mile asphalt multi-use trail was constructed by the city with help from a $428,784 NLT grant. The award was announced by Gov. Eric J. Holcomb in March 2021 as part of the second round of NLT. Partners for the project included Murray Roush Enterprises and Noble County Trails.

“Trails are a vital quality of life investment,” said DNR director Dan Bortner. “The DNR is proud to partner with cities like Kendallville to make important connections within the community and region at large.”

The completed project adds two segments of trail. The eastern segment extends the Dowling Street Trail from Allen Chapel Road to Walmart on U.S. 6. The western segment connects to the existing Fishing Line Trail, a regional trail that connects Kendallville to Rome City.

In April, Rome City was awarded a third-round NLT grant of $880,800 to extend its portion of the Fishing Line Trail by 1.46 miles. The Rome City project is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2023, bringing the total length of the Fishing Line Trail to nearly 13 miles.

“This project is just the latest ‘link in the chain’ in our efforts to provide residents and visitors to Kendallville resources for them and their families safe and healthy outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Suzanne Handshoe. “The City of Kendallville deeply appreciates the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ commitment to those same goals by offering the Next Level Trails Program to communities across the state.”

As part of Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s Next Level Connections initiative, NLT is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history. The $150 million program is administered by the DNR and facilitates critical trail connections within and between Hoosier communities.

Including the Grand Army of the Republic Highway Trail, 12 of the 73 NLT projects are complete, totaling 38.7 miles of trail.

More information about NLT is at on.IN.gov/NextLevelTrails.

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