Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum Decides Not to Lease Erie Trail to Starke County Park Board

The North Judson Erie Trail will remain under the control of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum for the foreseeable future. The Starke County Park Board had approached the museum’s leaders about leasing the trail and operating it as a park facility. County officials hoped the lease would help reduce maintenance costs, increase grant opportunities, and encourage volunteers.

But during Tuesday’s park board meeting, President Roger Chaffins said the museum has declined the county’s proposed contract. “Their problem is they don’t want to get hooked up with the county right now because they say they’re working on a five-year plan,” Chaffins said. “Well, okay, that’s what your board wants to do, but myself, I feel that if you were hooked up with the county, it’d be better for your five-year plan. But I’m not arguing with them. That’s what I was told on that.”

The trail lease was first proposed in the park board’s five-year plan. The idea has also gotten the support of volunteers with the Prairie Trails Club.