GOSHEN — After years of planning, Goshen’s much-anticipated new multiuse trail along 9th Street officially opened this week.

City officials, cyclists and community members celebrated the opening with a ceremony and bike ride Friday morning at Water Tower Park.

The 9th Street Corridor Bike and Pedestrian Trail runs through a mix of residential and industrial properties in the heart of the city.

The path was first proposed during planning sessions in 2012 and residents began seeing design options in early 2017. The Goshen Redevelopment Commission worked with a steering committee composed of residents and business owners to come up with a plan.

Construction on the three-phase project started in April.

“This project has been a long time coming,” Leslie Biek, civil traffic engineer, said during the ceremony. “It was a community developed project that started with the city and interested groups got together and wanted to think about how we could improve the 9th Street Corridor and make it more of a community center.”

The new trail connects Goshen College to the downtown area, branching out to Parkside Elementary, Goshen High School and Chandler Elementary, with numerous businesses in between.

Features of the new trail include a raised intersection at 9th and Jackson streets, which will provide visibility for those using the trail and slow down vehicle traffic. This is the first tabletop intersection built in Goshen. On the south end of the trail, users are directed to cross to the west side of 9th Street, connecting them to a path that goes into the college campus. This also will make cyclists and pedestrians visible to drivers crossing the train tracks to the east, city officials said.

Goshen Redevelopment Commissioner Vince Turner touted the collaborative work of the community and city for sharing input and seeing the project through to its completion. 

“I think you can see through the finished project that this is a win,” he said. “It’s a win for this neighborhood and certainly a win for our community.”

The total cost of the project, which also includes on-street parking improvements, is around $1.8 million. Eighty percent of the cost — for the first $1.3 million — is covered by a federal grant, leaving the city responsible for a 20 percent match and anything beyond $1.3 million.

Councilwoman Julia Gautsche, D-4, who represents the district where the trail is located, said her district has been excited about the project for many years and is thrilled to see it completed.

“The multi-use path is one of the very first things they wanted in this neighborhood,” she said. “It’s complete and we’ve seen a lot of people use this every day before it was completed.”

The Engineering Department continues to work on the designation of the 9th Street Corridor as a quiet zone, a project that may take another year to be completed.

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