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A welcome sign for Michigan City is seen on U.S. 12.

Kale Wilk, The Times

A trail in the works for more than a decade in Michigan City could get underway possibly this summer.

The City Council gave initial approval Tuesday to an ordinance to allocate $256,000 in riverboat funds to help pay for construction of the first leg of the Singing Sands Trail estimated at $2.2 million.

Shannon Eason, assistant park department superintendent, said the remainder of the city’s $609,000 share of the cost has already been placed in the budget.

Federal funds are covering the rest of the expense.

"We’re finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel," Eason said.

The trail would connect with the Calumet Trail in Porter County and run primarily beside U.S 12 on existing right of way past the entrance to Mount Baldy then stop outside City Hall.

The final two phases of the project slated now for construction in 2020 and 2021 will extend the trail down Eighth Street, Michigan Boulevard and over Peanut Bridge before ending at the Michigan state line, Eason said.

City Councilman Johnny Stimley said he believes the trail will help bring in more tourists including people who, after visiting Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, might want to bicycle their way into the downtown area.

"I can see more tourists coming into Michigan City and using this trail," Stimley said.

Eason said the second phase of the trail is estimated to cost roughly $1.3 million.

No cost estimates for the final phase of the trail have been tallied yet because that work is still in the design and engineering stage.

Federal and local funds will also be used to pay for the final two legs of the trail, Eason said.

A public hearing on allocating the $256,000 will take place at the Feb. 6 council meeting prior to a vote expected Feb. 20.

Eason said work on the trail began in 2003, but right of way acquisition took years to successfully work through.

Bids will be sought in March with creation of the trail possibly starting this summer.

"If everything goes well, this project will finally get under construction," Eason said.