Concerns are being voiced about a trail in LaPorte that would take users through a neighborhood known for a lot of drug dealing and other crimes.
The park board recently approved a master plan containing a trail stretching all the way from Pine Lake across the downtown to the east side at Boyd Boulevard.
One stretch would take users of the trail down Jefferson Avenue, which has areas considered some of the city’s worst with drug houses and blight on several of the blocks.
"Right now it doesn’t have a good reputation," said city councilman Ron McAtee.
One reason Jefferson Avenue was chosen for a stretch of the trail is there are no other east-west routes that go straight from the downtown to the east side other Ind. 2, which was ruled out due to heavy traffic.
One of the ideas of extending the trail on Jefferson Avenue is to help clean up the neighborhood.
"That might help in the long run because there would be more of a presence of people up and down. I’m not sure it’s going to help a lot," said McAtee.
Another is concern is the trail calls for converting traffic flow on the entire street east from Michigan Avenue into one-way.
Councilman Joe Mrozinske said that would force residents to backtrack a few blocks to get home and divert too much traffic past Hailmann Elementary School.
"You don’t want to have all of those cars pass through there," said Mrozinske.
Mrozinske said the trail as it’s designed now doesn’t give users enough access to the stores in the downtown, a major factor in trying to help with the revitalization.
He believes the trail should head east down State Street, which is lined with many businesses.
McAtee said opponents have been assured the trail can be amended and hopes decision makers will be open for change.
"I had a number of people who called me and were concerned they didn’t have their voice heard," said McAtee.