New Life for Historic Passageway
A historic transportation corridor that has evolved with the City is beginning a new era. The City is putting the finishing touches on a four-mile stretch of the Towpath Trail to be used by bikers, joggers, and walkers. “Connecting neighborhoods, in a way we live today, is critical to the quality of life for any community. The Towpath Trail continues Fort Wayne’s commitment to stronger neighborhoods by creating safe pathways that tie neighborhoods together,” said Mayor Tom Henry.
The four-mile stretch of the Towpath Trail will connect several neighborhoods, schools and apartment complexes to the trail system. It begins at Rockhill Park and winds southwest to the Eagle Marsh Wetlands on Engle Road. It has a unique feature of two pedestrian bridges along the path. Trail users can now go from Engle Road to New Haven on the trail network.
The Towpath Trail is historically significant to Fort Wayne. The area was once a part of the Wabash & Eric Canal, a critical trade route that was a key to the City’s success in the early days. Its name comes from the old Wabash & Erie Canal “towpath”, which was the dirt “path” along the canal used by mules to “tow” boats.
Later the area was used as part of the Interurban Railroad system… a line used to transport passengers between Fort Wayne and Huntington.
Today it is being used by health and nature enthusiasts and by people wanting safe connectivity to walk, jog, or bike through the City.
“We still have a few finishing touches to complete this four-mile stretch, but most of the work is complete. It’s exciting because once the County and Aboite New Trails complete the last mile and a-half of the Towpath from Engle Road to Lutheran Hospital, we’ll have 49 miles of connected trail and users will be able to go from Aboite to New Haven without leaving the trail,” said Dawn Ritchie, City Greenways Manager.
Some of the Informational and directional signage and a 200-foot boardwalk will be completed on the trail next spring. The public can access this four-mile portion of the Towpath Trail in two locations, Rockhill Park and Glendale Drive.
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