Local News

La Porte Trail Extension Cementing

(La Porte, IN) - Cement continues to pour for extending the Chessie Trail into downtown LaPorte and some of the surrounding residential neighborhoods.



Currently, much of the work is occurring on 1st Street where sidewalks are being torn out and replaced with a 10 foot wide trail.


Nearly 30 trees along the route have also been removed to provide an open, smooth trail made of concrete for walking, jogging and riding bicycles.  Much of the cement poured Tuesday was on 1st St. near Indiana 2.


Mayor Tom Dermody said the extension reflects a commitment from his and past administrations to provide more recreational opportunities and promote healthier lifestyles through physical fitness.  Dermody said this and other trails built in recent years at Kesling Park and beside Stone Lake are also in response to public demand.


“They want more things to do. They want more trails.  We’re going to be a leader in the quality of life here in La Porte and we’re working at it every single day,” he said.


Presently, the 1.5 mile long Chessie Trail completed in 2019 runs from the east side of Pine Lake at Kiwanis Teledyne Park to NewPorte Landing.


The extension is about equal in length.


Once completed, the Chessie Trail will cross Pine Lake Ave. next to Lily Lake and head south into downtown on Lake Street and Tyler Street  The trail will then veer west onto 1st Street before ending at TransPorte, the city’s bus transportation service at 102 L Street


“It’s going to be a nice project,” said Code Enforcement and Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor.


Batchelor said there are few, if any, trees left to cut down for the trail extension.  About half of the trees removed were less than 10 inches in diameter with the largest measuring nearly 40 inches across, he said.


Batchelor said construction should be completed by no later than June 30th.


“They’re hoping to get it done sooner,” he said.


City Engineer Nick Minich said the cost of the trail extension is about $1.6 million.   


He said federal dollars are covering 80-percent of the expense under a program aimed at reducing motor vehicle use and better air quality. The remaining funds were from a grant by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.


Dermody said all of the existing trails are receiving very good use.


“We’re excited to continue this and it’s going to be fantastic,” he said.


According to a city website, the original stretch of the Chessie Trail was built on the former right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.  The railroad later referred to as the “Chessie System” brought freight into and out of La Porte from the late 19th century until the line was abandoned. The line also served the former Allis Chalmers farm equipment plant, which closed down in the 1980’s.

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