Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

HARTA seeks donations to develop area trails

Posted: Friday, October 2, 2015

HARTA, the Huntington Area Recreational Trails Association, is a local nonprofit group with plans to design, develop, construct and maintain public trails and greenways in the Huntington area. In order to accomplish these ideals, HARTA has begun fundraising efforts through a capital campaign.

The organization has developed the capital campaign to raise $200,000 a year over the next five, giving HARTA $1 million to work with by the campaign’s conclusion. The campaign consists of seven gift giving levels, ranging from $75 to $100,000. Levels six through one carry perks, such as sponsorship of a bike rack or tree all the way up to trail naming rights. Contributions can be made by individuals or businesses.

Jody Davenport, HARTA’s president, explained that the plan for trails has been ongoing for 20 years. When the Huntington Redevelopment Commission and the Huntington City Council passed a public bond issue this past February, it represented a big step toward making it a reality.

Four trails currently make up Huntington’s trail system: The Lime City Trail, Evergreen Trail, Little River Section 3 and the soon-to-be completed Section 4. The Erie Railroad Bridge was dedicated for trail traffic this past year, and Jon and Shelly Schenkel donated the Wabash Railroad Depot to Huntington for use as the main hub for the local trail network.

Seth Kimmel, HARTA fundraising campaign manager, said the goal of the capital campaign is to make sure the existing trails are kept nice through amenities, to establish a maintenance fund to make sure that the trails are properly cared for and to build further trails.

Reusser Design, Roanoke, designed a sponsorship app for HARTA with Our Sunday Visitor donating the money for its creation. The iPhone app, H-TAP, which stand for “Huntington Trails APP Project,” has options for all six levels of donation.

HARTA began fundraising efforts this past spring at The Berg Ale Haus, and recently had a two-night fundraiser at Applebee’s where a portion of every purchase was donated to HARTA. A Bow Wow Walk is set for Saturday, October 31 at Yeoman Park as an additional fundraiser.

Matches for a Lilly Foundation grant is currently HARTA’s goal. The $30,000 grant requires HARTA to raise $20,000 by November. The funds would pay for a pavilion near Erie Rail Trail Bridge. The pavilion would serve as a rest stop for trail users and a congregation point for community members.

Davenport and Kimmel realize the importance of trails to Huntington for the economic impact they have had on other communities. Davenport explained that today’s employable young person wants to make their home and come to communities and bring business to communities where there are these kinds of amenities. Businesses also come to communities where employees want to live.

Kimmel said that trails are an amenity that can be offered to industries that look to locate here to make Huntington a better place so that their employees want to live here. Trails will also make the experience of living in Huntington that much better for the people who are already here.

To contact HARTA, email harta.gotrails@gmail.com. For information go to its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/harta.gotrails. To make a donation, contact Kimmel at (260) 388-9983 or make a donation through the Huntington County Community Foundation (designating HARTA as the recipient).