The Salt Creek Trail Committee is looking into a grant opportunity to put more play spaces along the trail.
The grant, from Disney and the National Parks and Recreation Association, funds play areas for children ages 3 to 11 and their families, trail committee member Bob Kirlin told the Brown County Commissioners last week. Right now there is one grouping of play equipment on the trail which doubles as fitness equipment near the YMCA.
The grant application deadline is June 23, so the committee doesn’t plan to go for it this year because there wouldn’t be enough time to gather community involvement, Kirlin said. But he still asked the commissioners to give their thumbs-up to proceeding, which they did.
“I think we can support anything that’s going to bring us a little more bang for our buck and is not our bucks,” commissioner Diana Biddle said.
The small committee that’s been discussing this includes Kirlin, Betsy Voss Lease, Mark Shields from parks and rec and Larry Pejeau from the Brown County Community Foundation.
What they’ve been talking about is a series of spaces to play in and explore along the trail, such as a fishing pier, a mural of Brown County history, a small covered bridge, a “bird’s nest” big enough for a child to crawl into, or other ideas. “Nothing is etched in stone at this point,” Kirlin said.
The average amount these groups grant is about $25,000, and that will need a match of equal amount, he said. Cash is not required; the “match” could be in-kind donations, he said. He said he didn’t know where any cash would come from yet.
In response to questions from commissioner Dave Anderson about the status of the trail, Kirlin said he can’t put a time frame on when the whole trail — envisioned to stretch from Brown County State Park to the current trailhead at the Nashville CVS and possibly beyond — will be completed. It took 10 years to get the first three-quarter-mile stretch done, he said.
The trail committee doesn’t have 100 percent commitment from all the landowners in the path of the proposed trail route, but “we work daily on that, and it’s something we have to treat with gentle hands and see what happens,” Kirlin said.