Ellie Tiemens | The Echo
Taylor students and Upland residents will soon have access to over one mile of bike trails as part of the Upland Area Greenways Association's construction project.
This mile-long stretch of trail through Upland is part of a larger plan to bridge the Cardinal Greenway Trail's 12-mile gap that stretches between Gaston and Gas City.
Though everything from penny boards to razor scooters and unicycles are seen around campus, it is clear that the students' favored mode of transport is the bicycle. Sophomore Taylor Marshall frequently uses biking both as a way to get to class and as a fun way to exercise. For Marshall, the addition of a bike trail through Upland means a way to spend more time in the community.
"I love biking around campus, and now I can go adventure to different areas around Upland and just get exposed to new environments," Marshall said.
Ron Sutherland, president of Upland Area Greenways and special assistant to President P. Lowell Haines, expects construction to begin this month. Bids for the project opened last Thursday at a town hall meeting. Though Sutherland has had to deal with red tape during this project, including the implementation of measures to protect the Indiana Brown Bat - a species that builds summer homes in the trees that would be cleared in order to build the trail - the raising of funds for a federal grant, and having to follow federal rules for wetland protection, he expects the trail to be open to the public by the end of this fall.
"It's been a long year for the organization," Sutherland said, "but it's been fun."
Sutherland sees many benefits of this trail for both the Taylor and Upland communities. When the Cardinal Greenways Trail is completed, over 60 miles of continuous bike trail will stretch from Richmond, Indiana to Marion, and will connect six colleges and universities, including Taylor. Sutherland envisions the possibility of a college bike race, or simply a fun day of students riding the trails.
"We believe (the trail) creates another amenity, another positive reason to live and work and be in Upland" Sutherland said. "The community side is that it continues to show that Upland is trying to take strides to move ahead as a great place to live and work and raise a family . . . it is just fun to be engaged in a community that has a vision to see things change, and this is a part of that."
With updated conveniences like this bike trail in place, Upland continues to grow closer to becoming the perfect place to live.