6-week media campaign to build awareness, encourage donations

The City of Fort Wayne is collaborating with three local non-profit trail groups to form Fort Wayne Trails, encouraging the use and expansion of the City'€™s trail network.

Fort Wayne Trails is a partnership of the City, Aboite New Trails, the Greenway Consortium, Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council and Northwest Allen Trails.  The goal is to provide trail access for all Fort Wayne residents within 15 minutes of their homes.

“Fort Wayne Trails is the result of these effective not-for-profit organizations joining forces with the City to build trails,” said Dawn Ritchie, City Greenways Manager. “We are able to maximize every dollar we have, while working toward providing additional access to greenways throughout Fort Wayne.”

As part of the network'€™s launch, Fort Wayne Trails is kicking off a 6-week media campaign starting Wednesday. Designed to educate the public on the many values of multi-use trails and raise money for ongoing greenway development, the campaign focuses on 7 miles of connector paths to link the Fort Wayne area from the western Allen County line to New Haven.

Using a logo designed and donated by HPN Marketing, Fort Wayne Trails'€™ slogan, “Rediscover Your Town,” speaks to the greenways'€™ ability to get people out in nature, make connections and explore neighborhoods using alternative transportation.

Aboite New Trails Inc. coordinated the media campaign for Fort Wayne Trails using a generous donation from STAR Financial Bank with time and talent donated by Indiana's NewsCenter. The campaign will use television and radio ads to focus on health, environment, safety, recreation, economic development and alternative transportation. The ads also encourage financial contributions to develop the 7 miles of gaps between east and west Allen County.

The ads will run on the networks of Indiana's NewsCenter and Federated Media'€™s nine local radio stations. They are scheduled to start Feb. 27.

“Fort Wayne'€™s trails are truly a burgeoning gem of our City,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “This spring we'€™ll certainly see more people getting out and taking advantage of the great trail network the City and its partners are developing. These linear parkways offer safe, alternative transportation routes and wonderful recreation for our City. This campaign will remind residents of the great asset we have and why it'€™s worth our community'€™s investment.” 

Fort Wayne Trails is looking to build 7 miles of trails to connect the existing 33 miles together within the City, New Haven and Aboite New Trails'€™ network. Once complete, it will provide a 40-mile contiguous trail corridor.

Donations will go to the non-profit Aboite New Trails, which will share the money with the Greenway Consortium and the City to build the key 7 miles. The top priority is the Towpath Trail between Rockhill Park and Lutheran Hospital, a 5.5-mile regional link following the route of the Wabash & Erie Canal. This trail is crucial to connect downtown Fort Wayne, New Haven and the Rivergreenway with the Aboite Trails and with many area destinations and places of employment.

“Aboite New Trails has an established record of building trails in southwest Fort Wayne, and we are entirely behind the concept of Fort Wayne Trails,” said Aboite New Trails Executive Director Lori Keys. “We are grateful that the 2030 Transportation Plan recognizes the public'€™s desire for trails, but we know it takes community resources to make them a reality. Generous donors have enabled the unprecedented development of 18 new trail miles in only four years, and like the other trail partners, we want to see this network expand for all area citizens.”

To find out more about Fort Wayne Trails or donate online, go to fwtrails.aboitenewtrails.org. Donations can also be made at any Allen County branch of STAR Financial bank or by calling 969-0079.