Supporting assets that make communities stronger is a vital component of the Opus Foundation's focus on community revitalization. Residents of Johnson County, Ind., (just south of Indianapolis) will soon be able to enjoy one of those assets, made possible in part by the Opus Foundation.
Foundation Supports Indiana Revitalization
Aspire Johnson County, a program of the Johnson County Development Corporation, has a mission of working with municipalities and communities to improve the quality of life for residents and helping Johnson County grow economically. They recently set out to establish a biking and walking trail system to connect all municipalities in the county and received a $40,000 Opus Foundation grant toward the development of a master plan for the project.
Johnson County has several existing developed trails, but the longest is only nine miles and the trails are not connected, so residents must drive to them. The master plan, which will be developed by an engineering firm, will be the impetus for the trail system. In addition to analyzing all existing trails and trails under development, it will define the best placement of new trails that will connect residents, schools and business districts.
“The grant from the Opus Foundation was the jump start we needed to make the trail system a reality," said Dana Monson, interim executive director for Johnson County Development Corporation. “All eight municipalities in Johnson County are on board. This master plan will provide the details they need to move forward and construct the new community trail system."
Trail Systems = Win-Win
Quality trail systems benefit communities in several ways. For residents, they enable healthier lifestyles with opportunities for biking and walking on safe and convenient trails with family, neighbors and friends. Communities with trail systems are also attractive to businesses that care about hiring quality workforces. They want to locate in areas where talented people are buying homes, raising families and establishing their roots. So, the trail system is a win-win from a lifestyle and an economic standpoint for Johnson County.
“Working with the Opus Foundation on this grant has been fantastic," said Monson. “They were able to see the value of connecting the community in this manner and have really been the catalyst for getting the trails project started. Having a quality partner like Opus at the table with us really lends to the credibility of what we are trying to do."
Once the master plan is adopted by the eight Johnson County municipalities, fundraising will begin in earnest with local foundations and businesses to support development of the trail system.
The Opus Foundation is building community for a better tomorrow by supporting projects and programs that make our communities better places to live, work and raise families through grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of early childhood education, youth development, workforce development, community revitalization and pressing/emerging needs. Read more about the Foundation's work.