GOSHEN — The city has acquired the last pieces of land needed for what will soon become the Monroe Street Trail.
Goshen’s newest trail will be separated into two parts and run from the intersection of Monroe Street and U.S. 33 to gate five at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.
The first half of the trail will be located on the north side of the street to Blackport Drive. The path will then cross Monroe Street at Blackport and will run on the south side of Monroe until it reaches the fairgrounds.
Connectivity was the main reason for the construction of the trail. City engineer Mary Cripe said the trail will connect the fairgrounds to Goshen High School, Abshire Park, the Pumpkinvine Trail, the Terrace Park subdivision and the downtown area.
She explained that traffic of all kinds — vehicle, bicycle and foot — to the fairgrounds is high, especially during the summer, and the trail will provide a good way for cyclists and pedestrians to reach the fairgrounds.
“We’re trying to provide a safe way for everybody to get there,” Cripe said.
Construction on the approximately 1.25-mile trail was originally supposed to be completed by this year’s fair, but several hold-ups left that in jeopardy, so the city decided to delay construction until August.
The trail will be constructed at the same time Elkhart County will be building the Monroe Street Bridge over Rock Run Creek.
Road closures would not be necessary for the trail’s construction only, but with the simultaneous construction of the bridge, Monroe Street will be closed from about Aug. 5 through Dec. 5, when they hope the projects will be completed.
While that section of Monroe Street is closed, a detour will be marked going from Logan Street to Ninth Street, then to Lincoln Avenue and then back to Blackport Drive.
Signs marking the detour and directions to the fairgrounds will likely be set up to help people, especially RV rally participants and campers, make their way to the fairgrounds.
The whole project is expected to cost around $1.3 million. Eighty percent of the funding for the project will be covered by federal transportation enhancement funds. Since the project will take place in areas controlled by Goshen and Elkhart County, the remaining 20 percent will be split between them.
The city has agreed to prepare and pay for the design and construction of the trail, while the county has agreed to do the same for the bridge.
Cripe noted that the various connections will benefit the fairgrounds and the other entities, such as the park, other trails and downtown Goshen. She also believes the Monroe Street Trail will be one more piece that promotes recreation in the area.