By Veronica Carter
A study by one of the country's leading planning firms reveals that a proposed linear park and trail system along the White River in Indiana will produce health and environmental benefits, plus a $13 million boost to the region's economy.
Environmental advocates in Indiana are pushing the Mounds Greenway
, which would be built between Muncie and Anderson. Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council
, said adding more space for residents to spend time outdoors reduces health care costs because people are able to get more physical activity. It also reduces vehicle emissions, as people use the greenway instead of cars for local travel, and it saves money when it comes to storm water and flood control projects.
"At the core of this project is conserving a free flowing river and the natural areas along the White River and connecting the existing parks and enhancing the overall environment of that region," he said.
A series of meetings is being held to build community support, with the next one slated for June 27th in Daleville.
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Maloney said a study done on the proposed greenway found it would add $3 million annually in tourism income alone to the region's economy, and $32 million in enhanced value to property owners who live along the White River. He said states that have done similar projects have reaped benefits.
"Typically a combination of protecting and restoring their local waterways and then bringing people to the waterways through trails and things like that that make the resource accessible and a real quality of life amenity for communities," he added.
Maloney said investments in river conservation and greenways produce positive, tangible and major impacts for the economy, health and environment.