More Momentum: Zionsville Awarded Next Level Trails Grant

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Press Release: 3/4/21

Amanda Vela

Town of Zionsville

Today Gov. Holcomb announced the Town of Zionsville has been awarded a Next Level Trails Round 2 grant of $1,812,295. This is the first Next Level Trails grant award for the Town. Of the 62 projects submitted for consideration, Zionsville was one of 18 selected in this highly competitive process.

As part of Gov. Holcomb’s broader Next Level Connections initiative, the Next Level Trails Grant program is designed to incentivize collaborative efforts to accelerate trail connections. Efforts are currently in place to complete the Big-4 Rail Trail corridor within Boone County, providing an important regional trail connection. 

The focus of Zionsville’s grant is to obtain the remaining parcels of land along the rail corridor, to clear them of brush and debris and to build a 15’ wide paved shared-use trail – effectively completing the Big-4 Trail from Zionsville Road to Whitestown.

“This will make a significant impact in our completion of the Big-4 Rail Trail and allow our allocated funds to extend further into widening the trail and repairing worn asphalt,” said Zionsville Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jarod Logsdon.

This grant will assist the Town of Zionsville in extending the Big-4 Rail Trail in two directions: south to Zionsville Road and north from Heritage Trail Park to the common boundary with Whitestown. Zionsville’s southern portion of the Big-4 Rail Trail ends at the bridge above Eagle Creek. At the north end, the Big-4 Rail trail ends at Heritage Trail Park.

Paving these two extensions will lengthen Zionsville’s existing central Trail by nearly two miles.

“Extending the Big-4 Rail Trail and adding to our 20-mile trail system is a priority,” said Mayor Emily Styron. “The benefit of trails is so varied in terms of our health and wellness, the local economy and environmental stewardship. In addition to this grant, the Wayfinding Master Plan is currently underway which will create a very intentional signage system that will better connect residents and visitors to the Big-4 Rail Trail and other destinations. All of these recreational, tourism and planning initiatives contribute to our sense of place.”

According to Indiana DNR’s press release, the town of Lebanon also will receive over $2.5 million for improvements of the Big-4 Trail.

Here is the DNR press release regarding both awards to Zionsville and Lebanon.

Trail Name: Big Four Trail
Applicant: City of Lebanon
County: Boone
Grant Amount: $2,523,430
Length: 5.8 miles
Description: Adds a total of 5.8 miles of new asphalt trail to the Big Four Trail in Lebanon and rural Boone County. A new
1.4-mile segment of trail within Lebanon will connect the Courthouse Square to Abner Longley Park. An additional 4.4 miles
of deteriorating slag aggregate surfaced trail will be upgraded to asphalt in unincorporated Boone County, creating a contiguous paved connection from Thorntown to Lebanon. The trail is named for the former Big Four Railroad. Partners include
Friends of Boone County Trails, the Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Boone County Council.

Trail Name: Big Four Trail
Applicant: Town of Zionsville
County: Boone
Grant Amount: $1,812,295
Length: 1.79 miles
Description: Adds 1.79 miles of asphalt trail to the existing Big Four Trail within Zionsville, extending northwest by 0.92 miles
to the border of Whitestown and southeast by 0.87 miles to the Vonterra neighborhood. The project includes new trailhead
facilities where the former Big Four Railroad corridor intersects Zionsville Road. Partners include Friends of Boone County
Trails, Zionsville Community Schools, the Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Boone County Council, and several
individual contributors.

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