MYPATH VIDEO– An introduction to the MYPath Trail System produced by Adam Bowen with aerial photography by Tyler Hammond of Skysource Imaging.
The MYPath Trail System is a community partnership between The Owen County Community Foundation (OCCF), the Owen County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), and the Owen County Family YMCA. The goal is to create a multi-use path and trail system to enhance recreational opportunities and improve safety on major walking routes for the residents of Spencer and Owen County. The trail system will encourage healthier lifestyles, more children walking to school, and more older citizens enjoying the use of upgraded sidewalks.
MYPath will be a system of sidewalks and trails in and around Spencer that will connect McCormick’s Creek State Park to the YMCA (‘M’cCormick’s Creek to the ‘Y’MCA, hence ‘MY’Path). This project represents the largest community effort undertaken in the first 20 years of the OCCF and is an approved project of the State of Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration. MYPath will also be a celebration of the OCCF’s 25th anniversary commemoration in 2019 and the SWCD’s 70th anniversary in 2016. This project is also being undertaken with the collaboration of the Town of Spencer, Owen County, and McCormick’s Creek State Park.
Project Funding as of January 2016:
- The OCCF has committed $30,000 for the MYPath project.
- The OCCF and SWCD were awarded a $60,000 grant in October 2014 from Smithville Charitable Foundation to pay for appraisals, easements, initial trail system design/engineering plans, and project management.
- The OCCF and SWCD were awarded a $53,500 grant in November 2014 from DNR’s Bicentennial Nature Trust to help pay for conservation easements.
- The Boston Scientific Employee grant of $3,500 was awarded to the SWCD.
- In November of 2015, Duke Energy funded the full grant request of $12,000, for restoration of the land purchased for the Riverfront Trail which includes wetlands.
- In December of 2015, Boston Scientific awarded a $31,000 grant for upgrades to the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge.
- In early January 2016, the SWCD was awarded a $49,500 Place Based Investment grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for upgrades to the current parking lot at Cooper Commons and a new Trailhead.
Benefits to Owen County residents:
MYPath is a large-scale project intended to promote recreation in the Town of Spencer and to provide safe walking and bicycling routes to residents of all ages. The Comprehensive Master Parks Plan approved in February 2014 envisions multi-use paths from the Owen County Family YMCA and the Owen Valley Middle/High School on State Road 46 to the center of Spencer and southeast to the Town’s only public park, Cooper Commons, located next to the Owen County Fairgrounds. Currently, there is no safe avenue for residents and children to walk from Owen Valley Middle and High Schools to the east side of town.
The MYPath Trail System will benefit residents of Owen County and their guests by providing enhanced recreational resources and safer walkways through town. The Town of Spencer’s connection to McCormick’s Creek State Park will allow many residents to access the park in new and exciting ways, as well as draw in people from surrounding areas to the Town of Spencer. Visitors to the State Park are typically directed to visit Bloomington for dining and lodging, and we hope that the MYpath project and re-beautification of Main Street will make Spencer a closer alternative destination for visitors.
The Riverfront Trail will serve as a conservation easement to protect the sensitive habitat of the White River’s riparian zone. The trail will eventually serve as an easily accessible educational tool for the Owen County SWCD and Spencer Parks and Recreation Board where signs about the wildlife and historical uses of the White River will be displayed, and informational hikes can be led from the Trailhead at Cooper Commons.