Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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February 28, 2013

WHO WE ARE: Bicycle paths have a way of linking the community together

GOSHEN — A series of connecting bike trails along abandoned railroad tracks, roads and the millrace in Goshen have become part of the fabric of the community in recent years as they are a welcome attraction to visitors and residents alike.

“Bike trails are a key factor,” said Goshen resident Ned Kauffman, “to helping us feel connected to Goshen.”

The many miles of trails include the inter-connecting Maple Heart Trail, originally a 5-mile asphalt trail that starts at Hively Avenue in Elkhart and runs along the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, parallel to C.R. 45. In October 2011 it was connected with the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. The not-for-profit Friends of the Pumpkinvine was formed in 1993 and has been purchasing land along the abandoned Pumpkinvine Railroad in a continued effort to turn the path into linear parks and greenways and donate that land back to local park departments.

The crushed stone trail runs from just west of Shipshewana and enters the city just south of C.R. 28 and runs through Abshire Park and connects with the Maple City Greenway — a network of various bike and pedestrian trails in Goshen. Those trails connect homes, park, schools, the library and downtown.

The Millrace Trail, a 2.75-mile crushed stone trail follows the millrace and connects Shoup-Parsons Woods, Shanklin Park and the Elkhart County Courthouse. There’s a quarter-mile paved trail at Shoup-Parsons Woods, which features a self-guided nature study. The Plymouth Avenue Trail, also a quarter-mile, connects Shanklin Park with Goshen Middle School via a bridge over the Elkhart River. The trail continues along Plymouth Avenue to Greene Road.

This trail is one of the trails that Ned Kauffman advocated for years ago. Kauffman, now a retired veterinarian, has long been a proponent for bicycle and pedestrian trails.

“Bike trails, sidewalks and trees are issues I found myself speaking up for,” Kauffman said. “There’s a feeling of community that comes alive when out on the trails and you meet one another.”

Another reason Kauffman is a supporter of bike trails is because of safety.

“Our young people need to get exercise and if they’re walking, they need a safe place to walk,” he said. “It’s important, too, for those without a license or without access to a motor vehicle to have a safe way to get around town.”

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Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

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