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New trail experience maps help walkers explore the city

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AMENITIES — A mural adds color to a portion of the Industrial Heritage Trail.

Those walking Kokomo’s trails have a new way of discovering what there is to do nearby, thanks to new trail experience maps.

Created by the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Association, the maps are designed not only to show where the trails go and how they connect but also to spotlight recreational activities, museums, historic sites, restaurants, and more that are located near the trails.

“It’s not just a trail map to show where the trail starts and stops. It’s really a map on how [residents] can experience our community via the trails,” said Sherry Matlock, manager of the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau. “The reason we created this is to not only increase usage of our trails by visitors and residents but to show people how they can explore our community either by foot or by bike.”

Two maps were created, one for the Industrial Heritage Trail, which runs north and south through Kokomo, and the Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence that runs east and west, both totaling more than 10 miles. Featured amenities on the map include the Seiberling Mansion, Willie the Whale in Foster Park, Artist Alley, Kokomo Opalescent Glass, and more.

As the trails continue to be developed and added onto, Matlock said they’ve become a part of tourism in the city. The maps, she said, also will be useful for those who are unfamiliar with what there is to do in Kokomo.

“We have more and more people coming into our community asking about walking and biking trails that are available. We thought that this would be a great opportunity for us to, in a visual way, show what our local amenities are as far as our tails,” said Matlock.

The maps also include the new Cloverleaf Trail, which connects the Walk of Excellence to the Industrial Heritage Trail. That extension was added from Mehlig Park and has been completed, said Torrey Roe, superintendent of the Kokomo Parks and Recreation Department. The map also shows extensions from Industrial Heritage Trail between North Street and Morgan Street that are under construction by the city and will be walkable soon.

“The new trails that will be added this year will be a little bit over a mile, taking the total (miles of trails) to 13 miles,” said Roe.

The Trail Experience Maps are available at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library main branch in downtown Kokomo and at Inventrek Technology Park. Residents and visitors also can access an interactive version of the maps on the Visitors Bureau website, under the link “Plan your visit.”

“We have a lot of people here locally who don’t know what all we have in our community. While we have visitors asking about the trails, we also thought the maps would be a great way for residents to know amenities and assets in our own community,” said Matlock. “We really hope residents and visitors can use the maps and enjoy our trails even more.”