NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced at his 2023 State of the State address that the South Monon Freedom Trail is coming to New Albany.
According to a news release, the trail is just over 63 miles long and connects five counties in Southern Indiana. The trail begins just north of the Sazerac facility and ends near Bedford. It will be the longest recreational trail in the state of Indiana.
“The Monon South Trail will preserve a piece of our Hoosier history while promoting quality of place in our rural communities,” Holcomb said.
Officials say the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is awarding $29.5 million to acquire and begin development of the trail.
"It continues to be an exciting time to live in New Albany. The new Monon South Trail brings fresh connections to our river city and for our neighbors throughout the region,” Mayor Jeff Gahan said in a news release. "When our state, regional, and local partners join together, great things can happen.”
Officials say CSX was considering abandoning its rail line between New Albany and Bedford six years ago. According to a news release, Gahan saw that as a "wonderful opportunity" to promote economic development and create the longest "Rails to Trails" conversion in the state of Indiana.
The Monon South Trail will follow the route of the historic Monon Railroad, officials said. It will begin in New Albany and run through the communities of Borden, New Pekin, Salem, Campbellsburg, Saltillo, Orleans and Mitchell. This route includes portions of Floyd, Clark, Washington, Orange and Lawrence counties.
Officials say the DNR is putting an additional $24 million in Next Level Trails funding to begin design, engineering and construction portions of the trail -- which have 440,000 people living within 10 miles of the trail’s path.