The Middlebury Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced they have entered into a partnership with the Middlebury Parks Department and Friends of the Middlebury Parks to further enhance the Trails of Middlebury as well as marketing Middlebury through parks projects.
“This partnership makes perfect sense -- it blends the Chamber’s mission to promote economic and civic opportunities with the park department’s mission to provide exceptional parks, trails and educational opportunities,” said Aaron Scholl, president of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
The partnership between these organizations will result in cost sharing and collaborative efforts to facilitate three projects in 2014.
Informational Kiosk in East Park
A double-sided informational kiosk will be constructed and placed in East Park in downtown Middlebury, adjacent to the Middlebury Public Library.
“The kiosk will house a map that will highlight restaurants, shops, places people can go visit such as the quilt gardens, the Little League ball park, the Middlebury Magic fields, and also event information and literature,” said Julie Whitehead, Middlebury Chamber of Commerce past president and chamber marketing committee member.
Trails of Middlebury Pocket Map
The chamber and parks department will develop a pocket map of the Trails of Middlebury. Middlebury is home to six community parks and three to four miles of trails used by bicyclists, runners and outdoor enthusiasts. The backbone of Middlebury’s trail system is the Middlebury Greenway on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, which connects to Shipshewana and Goshen.
“The map will be made so walkers and bicyclists can carry it in a pocket. It will show the trails and parks, identify streets and highlight items of interest, such as the quilt gardens. It will show places to go and things to do in Middlebury, with the aim of bringing people off the trail and into the town center,” said John McKee, Middlebury park board president.
The pocket map will be placed in park kiosks and in local businesses.
Another project slated for 2014 is the development of a learning corridor along the Middlebury Greenway, on the half-mile section between Wayne Avenue and the Little Elkhart River trestle bridge. Points along the learning corridor will include the site where Middlebury’s railroad depot was, the bluebird trail, the habitat garden, the Right Tree Right Place Arboretum, the Middlebury Community Historical Museum, Krider Garden, two rain gardens and the trestle bridge. Interpretive signs and brochures will be developed explaining the various stops along the corridor.
“The learning corridor will be an attraction that people can come to Middlebury and experience. There’s the educational and historical side of it, and the nature side of it. It could be an educational attraction for the schools, for example, or a place for groups like the Indiana Master Naturalists to visit,” said McKee.
“The chamber really focuses on promoting all that Middlebury has to offer, including our wonderful schools, sports and civic activities,” said Whitehead. “The parks help make Middlebury an attractive, vibrant community.”
The Middlebury Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2003 and is located in the Heritage Square suites on Wayne Avenue in Middlebury.