Mayor Ballard to talk trails in D.C.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis’ cultural trails will be in the spotlight on Capitol Hill this week.

On Thursday, Mayor Greg Ballard will appear before a Senate committee that is considering a bill to fund greenways. The Senate committee on environment and public works is considering next year’s transportation bill right now.

Mayor Ballard will share with senators how the city’s cultural trails have given Indianapolis a huge economic boost. The Mayor has five minutes on the agenda to talk about how federal money has helped build trails that put Indianapolis on a path to progress.

He’ll make that speech on the heels of a huge announcement by Cummins on Wednesday. The Columbus-based company says it will build a $30 million facility in downtown Indianapolis, a choice that was helped by the green space and trails in the city.

“We like the fact that it’s up against the cultural trail,” said Jon Mills, Cummins’ Executive Director of External Communications. “We’re very focused on environmental sustainability as a company and health and wellness. That was an attraction as well.”

Marc Lotter, the Mayor’s spokesperson, said, “Mayor Ballard’s going to use the great examples in Indianapolis with the cultural trail, the Monon, the Penssy Trail, and all the new bike lanes we have. Many of those used federal funding. So he’s going to show all the great work that’s taking place in Indianapolis with those federal funds and encourage them to continue those programs so our city and other cities can benefit in the future.”

Federal grant money contributed about $35.5 million in funding for Indianapolis’ cultural trail. That’s more than half the cost. Federal funds also help to build bike and walking paths, which are considered part of street surfacing.

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