The Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad recently received a nearly $50,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks’ Recreational Trails Program for Phase 3 of the Iron Horse Trail. Phase 3 is a half-mile long section, beginning at Bridge Street in Enterprise and traveling west across the Smoky Hill River Bridge.
“This recent grant is another step towards connectivity between Abilene and Enterprise,” said Ross Boelling, Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad Board President. “We’re excited about the project and hope it creates additional support for the railroad and Hoffman Grist Mill.”
The grant funds will build an 8’ wide trail along the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad’s track. Funds will also construct two, 4’ walkways along Bridge #3 and the Smoky Hill River Bridge.
The Community Foundation of Dickinson County will provide a $12,455 (20%) match for the grant.
“Once completed, we hope this trail will serve visitors and residents,” said Elizabeth Weese, Community Foundation of Dickinson County director. “We hope the Iron Horse Trail is a catalyst for economic development initiatives in all communities along the trail.”
In July, Phase 1 of the Iron Horse Trail from Abilene to Jeep Road received a $35,368 grant from the Sunflower Foundation. The Quality of Life Coalition will also provide $50,000 for the trail through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas®, Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant program.
“We are fortunate to have so many community partners on board and supporting this project,” said Julie Roller Weeks, Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau director. “People are looking at Abilene, Dickinson County and the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad as leaders who think outside-of-the-box about trail construction and community and economic development.”
For more information about the Iron Horse Trail and workdays, visit www.facebook.com/ironhorsetrailks