>KitchenAid Division Supports Cross County Recreational Trail Plan

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Chad Toney, Sr., Scott Hartings, Bill Good,
Roger Van Frank, Deb Shiverdecker, Darrin Keiser

On November 9, 2010 the KitchenAid division of Whirlpool Corporation presented a donation to Roger Van Frank, Director of Darke County Park District on behalf of the Friends of the Parks Recreational Trail Phoenix Committee to be used toward the Park District’s groundbreaking cross county trail plan which began this past summer. Construction of the first 1.8 miles of asphalt trail was completed with the help of an Ohio Department of Natural Resources Clean Ohio Trail Fund grant, donated “in-kind” engineering and other services from the Darke County Engineers Office and Ditch Maintenance Department, as well as, many hours of volunteer labor and services from the Phoenix Committee. The “First Mile” Project begins at Bridge Street in the Village of Gettysburg and runs along the abandoned rail way toward the Village of Bradford in Darke County. KitchenAid’s financial donation will be used for matching funds in the grant process and costs of the trail project that are not covered by grant funding. Darke County Park District is excited to begin this new partnership with Whirlpool Corporation, KitchenAid division.

Darke County Parks has diligently and cautiously taken on the Darke County East to West Connector trail project with careful consideration. Since 2003 with the acceptance of a donation of abandoned rail property made by Vectren Energy Corporation Of Ohio, in the Gettysburg area, the Park Board of Commissioners and the Park’s Director with the assistance of the newly established Darke County Recreational Trails Phoenix Committee, have developed a plan for a multi use trail that will utilize over 300 acres of abandoned rail corridor and up to 18 miles of that rail corridor. This Connector will be a critical link between Indiana’s Cardinal Greenway Trail Program being built towards Union City, Ohio and would allow the user to travel from Union City in west Darke County, South to Greenville, the County seat, and then East to Bradford, Ohio connecting to the Miami County Trails project. This connection would allow trail users to continue North or South in the state on existing trail. Union City, Ohio was chosen in 2009 as the site of an Indiana/Ohio Gateway Project funded primarily by the Coca Cola and Ball Brother Foundations, for the trails, with grant writing assistance from the Park District. That project has been completed. To Date, two additional Clean Ohio Grants have been awarded to the Park District in 2010 for acquiring additional abandoned rail property and to begin Phase II of the construction of trail in eastern Darke County. A grant application is in the process for Phase III construction and will be due in February, 2011.

A donation of a 32 acre woodland now known as Coppess Nature Sanctuary by Mrs. Frances Carpenter was the catalyst for the creation of the Darke County Park District in 1972. The Park District operated at that time from a donated office space in downtown Greenville and was run solely by a handful of dedicated volunteers. Through the years your Darke County Park District has grown to include over 700 acres of park lands, river corridors, wetlands and pathways and is operated by a small staff and over 100 volunteers. Darke County’s rich cultural and natural history are being preserved for future generations through educational programs and events held at the Shawnee Prairie Nature Education Center, Anthony Wayne Peace Council House and Wilcox Log House Cultural History Center. Parks Director Van Frank stated, “The new county trail program is the single largest adventure for the District in its mission to acquire and preserve land areas possessing special natural and historical features and to manage and maintain these resources for the benefit of Darke County residents through appropriate educational and passive educational programs and activities.” Van Frank added, “Thank you for becoming an integral part of “Your” Darke County Parks!”

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