In 2009 HMBA applied for a Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant for Southwestway Park. We were awarded over $120,000. The stipulations of the Federal grant required two reviews before construction can begin. The 106 historical preservation review was completed by State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) in 2012. The NEPA environmental review was completed by a private contractor for the Indiana Department of Transportation (IDOT) early in 2013.
Construction began in Spring 2013, and the first trail completed under the grant was the hike/bike/horse Mann Loop trail. It features wide turns and open sight lines, optimized for multiple nonmotorized user groups.
In August of 2013, construction began on the Big Fire North and Big Fire South trails. These trails are bike-optimized trails for downhill bike traffic and two way hiker traffic. They feature many bermed corners and rollable jumps.
In October of 2013, construction began on a number of trails climbing to the top of Mann Hill. Mann Summit North, Mann Summit East, and the Mann/River Connector were built. Some old, unsustainable routes that were no longer needed were also closed.
The RTP Grant plan calls for several more miles of trail, including a technical downhill trail for the Marian University MTB Team. Trail work sessions for major projects are announced on the HMBA.org Southwestway Forum. They tend to occur on weekends, both on Saturdays and Sundays.
Regular work sessions are currently scheduled for Thursday afternoons at 1pm led by Al, and at 4pm by Dave G. Work days are weather-dependent and updates can be found in the announcement thread and on the Southwestway Park Trail Users Facebook group.