788 Pottersville Road; Spencer, IN 47460 owenswcd@gmail.com 812-829-2605




Where did the name MYPath come from?

The name MYPath comes from the east and west termini of the trail system: M is for McCormick’s Creek to the east, and the Y is for YMCA to the west.


Who owns MYPath?

MYPath is a community partnership organized by the Owen County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Owen County Community Foundation, and the Owen County Family YMCA along with several key partners including McCormick’s Creek State Park and the Town of Spencer.  MYPath is a public trail and is not owned by any one organization.  Portions of the trail will follow town sidewalks. The Owen County SWCD holds the deeds for the property purchased to make the Riverfront Trail portion of MYPath.  When MYPath is finished, the county may decide to sign an agreement to clarify maintenance and operations of a portion of the Trail.


What is the cost of MYPath?

The cost of the entire MYPath project is hard to estimate because the trail will undergo multiple phases of design before completion. Phase I – 2016-2017 (Primary Trailhead and a portion of Riverfront Trail) is projected to cost $400,000.  In future phases, pedestrian crosswalks and trail engineering near the riverbank are potentially very expensive and could result in a total trail cost of $5-7 million.


How is MYPath funded?

Initial funding for the MYPath Trail System was provided by the Owen County Community Foundation.  Additional start-up funds were received from Smithville Charitable Foundation.  As the project continues, the MYPath Advisory Board will pursue donations and grants from area businesses, units of government, and many individuals who want to see the project succeed.  Other key funding so far came from the Boston Scientific Foundation, State of Indiana Place Based Investment Fund, and Duke Energy Foundation.


Who is the professional design team and how were they selected?

The MYPath Advisory Board is working with Cecil Penland from Rundell Ernstberger Associates.  Cecil managed the planning efforts for the 2014-2018 Town of Spencer Parks and Recreation Master Plan and also the MYPath Feasibility Study completed in July 2015.  Cecil has been a project manager on a variety of municipal projects including several new park developments and renovations, including work at Indiana University.  Cecil has been great to work with, bringing professionalism and creative ideas to our planning sessions. His extensive knowledge, engineering and design assistance is needed and appreciated.  Learn more about Cecil here, http://www.reasite.com/staff/cecil-penland/


What will the trail look like?

In the Town of Spencer, MYPath will follow sidewalks. We plan to follow facilities recommendations for mixed-use trail systems in the Town of Spencer Parks and Recreation Master Plan.  It states, “Trails can utilize existing sidewalks and streets or can be new constructions that may include both hard and soft surfaces.”  The existing sidewalks may be widened to eight to ten feet (but a minimum of 5 feet) with standard concrete surface and nice crosswalks at each intersection.  In future phases, the Riverfront Trail will be renovated from a natural walking path into a 10-12 foot shared use trail accommodating both bicyclists and pedestrians constructed of asphalt or a permeable trail surface.


When will it be open?

There are many phases to the MYPath Trail System.  The Riverfront Trail, an approximate 1 mile loop, opened on June 3, 2016 in recognition of National Trails Day.  The new Trailhead located in Cooper Commons at the corner of Cooper Street and Main Street was officially open to the public on April 1, 2017.  Planning for future phases is currently underway.


How are you going to connect the trail to McCormick’s Creek State Park?

While connecting the trail to McCormick’s Creek State Park is the goal, there are many options and routes that need to be considered through careful planning and assessment.  The connection to MCSP will most likely be the final phase of the project, which will take several years to complete. The MYPath project will respect individual property rights and landowner decisions regarding easements and/or land sales for the extension of MYPath.  Continue to stay connected on Facebook for updated information on current and future phases.


How many total miles is MYPath? How long is the Riverfront Trail portion of MYPath?

The MYPath Trail System to travel from McCormick’s Creek State Park to the YMCA or vice versa is approximately 5 miles one way.

If you start at the newly constructed Cooper Commons Trailhead and walk the Riverfront Trail, the loop is a total of 1.4 miles, making it a perfect length for a quick leisurely walk on a lunch break or after work.


Will the Riverfront Trail be paved/bike friendly?

Plans for paving MYPath’s Riverfront Trail are in the works and will depend on engineering designs, construction in a floodway permitting and potential funding.


Is the trail ADA accessible?

Future plans include upgrades to the Town of Spencer’s sidewalks along the east side of Main Street and Hillside Avenue.  After these improvements are complete, the town portion will be ADA accessible.  The Riverfront Trail for now will remain a moderately rugged dirt trail, and not ADA accessible.  We hope in the future, with continued support and funding, we will be able to pave a section (or all) of the Riverfront Trail.


What happens when the White River floods? 

Sections of the Riverfront Trail may flood and be closed for a limited amount of time, much like other lowland trails in the area, such as Trail 7 at McCormick’s Creek State Park and Beanblossom Bottoms in Monroe County.  Through monitoring flood levels and their effects over the past couple of years, we have found that the Riverfront Trail holds up quite well.  It’s also notable that once the flood waters recede, the trail dries up quickly.


What are you doing about safety?

Safety is a main priority in the planning and construction of MYPath.  The Riverfront Trail will be open from dawn to dusk, trail users are encouraged to use common sense and personal safety measures while walking on the trail.  The entire Riverfront Trail is within cell phone range and signs with the emergency number for the Owen County Sheriff’s Department are provided.  Meetings with the Owen County Sheriff’s Department, and Owen County EMS have been arranged so they can be updated on the route of the Riverfront Trail and can have plans in place for emergency vehicles and equipment.

There are many aspects of MYPath that will make walking around Spencer safer.  Leveling the sidewalks and crossings will reduce tripping accidents.  There is improved lighting at the Trailhead at Cooper Commons.  The pedestrian sidewalk on the bridge will have updates including road markings to alert drivers of the buffer zone between road and pedestrian traffic.

Intersections and street crossings are the most hazardous locations for pedestrians and cyclists.  As sidewalk upgrades occur, treatments including crosswalks, warning signs, school crossing guards, and countdown timers among other things will be taken into consideration.


What is the economic impact of MYPath?

Trails and greenways impact our economy through tourism, events, community improvement, and property values. Direct local benefits include a more attractive community and safer routes for pedestrians, children going to school, and bicyclists making the overall community more friendly and livable.  A successful trail system will inspire officials to set zoning changes that will allow for tourist-friendly businesses in areas currently zoned only for housing, building upon the momentum of community revitalization efforts.  In addition, land and open space conservation is a way to safeguard drinking water, clean the air, and achieve other environmental goals.  According to a report on the website of American Trails, “One acre of wetland is estimated to generate $150,000 to $200,000 in economic benefits”.  Check out other resources and studies on the economic impact of trails at http://www.americantrails.org/resources/devel/Economic-value-walking-homes.html


Will there be bathrooms along MYPath?

We are considering vault bathroom locations at a spot in Cooper Commons and the DNR Public Access Site; however, no bathroom facilities are currently being planned.


What can I do to help/what kinds of volunteer opportunities are available?

MYPath is a community partnership led by key partners (OCCF, OCSWCD, YMCA) and supported by committed volunteers.  At this time, we have organized volunteer days to help construct the trail, pick up litter, plant trees, and other related activities.  Volunteer days are either open to the general public, or specifically planned for certain community groups.  If you are an interested individual or a leader of a group who would like to volunteer, contact Colleen at mypathspencer@gmail.com.  We thank you in advance for your support.