LAPORTE | There's a vision in LaPorte of trails for bicyclists and walkers who would then get off the path and patronize the downtown businesses.
Several routes have been proposed and a meeting Tuesday to get input from residents is designed to help narrow down the directions the trail will follow.
"All of this is to grow the community," Mayor Blair Milo said.
The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at the LaPorte County Public Library, 904 Indiana Ave.
Parks Department Superintendent Brian Niksch said the goal is to present as many as three final routes for a trail to the park board for approval Dec. 11.
Milo said the idea is to have a route where portions of the trail are paved or "mulched over" with bicycle lanes created on existing streets and sidewalks. Her vision is for the trail to connect the lakes along with other recreation area with businesses in the city.
Another purpose is to attract investment and tourism by improving the "liveability of the community," she said.
"These are the things people are considering when they are determining places where they want to live and work and play," Milo said.
Milo said there are no ballpark cost figures yet because those estimates cannot be determined until after the route and how the trail will be constructed are determined.
She said outside sources of funding like grants will be sought -- with any balance supplemented possibly by local dollars.
Construction of the trail could begin as soon as next year but Niksch said depending on access to funding "it could be a couple of years out."
Milo said a trail is part of the ongoing revitalization efforts and the route could cut across New Porte Landing into the downtown. New Porte Landing is the 150-acre site once home to Allis Chalmers now being developed for commercial and recreation use.