Volunteers working on Whiteland walking trail

Whiteland residents may soon have a trail they can walk or run on in their community.

A group of volunteers are working on a proposal to build a mile and a half walking trail around Whiteland Community High School.

Carmen Parker, a community volunteer and administrative assistant to the town manager, wanted a place in Whiteland where she and her family could exercise. A year ago, she started a group and now they are working on a proposal that could lead to a walking trail opening as soon as next spring.

“It has been a grass roots effort to get some community engagement,” she said.

The proposal has been presented to both the Whiteland Town Council and the Clark-Pleasant school board. Nothing has been approved, although an initial decision may come as soon as the October school board meeting, Parker said.

Community volunteers chose a loop around Whiteland Community High School since the high school is the centerpiece of the community, she said.

Parker and other volunteers pitched the idea to school officials who are in support of a trail system that could spring up from building the initial proposal and the idea to build it around the high school, said Patrick Spray, superintendent of Clark-Pleasant Schools.

Currently cross-country runners must go along some dangerous paths, such as U.S. 31. A trail that loops around the high school would help limit the amount of time cross country runners are running along a busy road, Spray said.

And physical education classes could use the trail during the day, with residents making use of the trail after school hours, he said.

“We are trying to form healthy communities and communities in general are looking for those kinds of amenities,” Spray said.

The price tag of the trail is unclear. Early estimates show the trail costing between $50,000 and $100,000, depending on the materials that will be used for the trail, Parker said.

Residents making the proposal are unsure of who will pay for the trail. Money for the labor to build the trail might come from school or town coffers, with fundraising possibly making up the rest, she said.

School officials might be willing to chip in for labor for the trail, since it is an amenity that will be used for students and during the school day, Spray said.

Community volunteers met with parks and recreation officials from both Greenwood and Franklin to help put together a proposal. One of the ideas of starting the initial trail is to have cross-county trails, with the Whiteland trails possibly linking trails in Greenwood and Franklin, Parker said.

“The hope is that this would help us have future conversations on where trails can go in the community,” she said.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.