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Building Trails

RTC’s Doppelt Fund Supports 10 Multiuse Trail Projects in 2019

By: Eli Griffen
May 30, 2019

Potential Midtown Greenway extension over the Mississippi River | Photo courtesy Midtown Greenways Coalition
Potential Midtown Greenway extension over the Mississippi River | Photo courtesy Midtown Greenways Coalition

With National Trails Day just around the corner, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund grant program!

Since 2015, RTC’s Doppelt Fund has awarded more than a half-million dollars to nearly 40 nonprofits and government agencies working to develop and improve multiuse trails. Established with funding from philanthropist Jeff Doppelt of Great Neck, New York, and an anonymous donor, the Doppelt Fund helps organizations and local governments working to maintain and improve existing trails, bring trail concepts to fruition and fill gaps in trails and trail networks.

The Doppelt Fund is a unique source of trail funding designed to support trail projects that, though critical to vibrant walking and bicycling networks, may be too small to be eligible for federal or state programs. Doppelt Funds can also be used to match federal or state funding awards—encouraging municipalities and other levels of government to seek this funding and amplifying the fund’s already significant impact.

RTC’s Doppelt Fund is awarding the most funds ever to the most awardees yet: more than $130,000 to 10 worthy recipients.

Now in its fifth year, RTC’s Doppelt Fund is awarding the most funds ever to the most awardees yet: more than $130,000 to 10 worthy recipients. These incredible projects were chosen from more than 170 applications seeking more than $4.7 million in funding.

While the quantity and quality of the applications made the final selection exceedingly difficult, it truly reflects the incredible demand for rail-trails and trail networks across the country.

The 2019 Doppelt Fund recipients are as follows:

    • Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (Colorado), receiving $5,000 for marketing and project coordination activities, including map and audio tour development, for the Stage & Rail Trail, a planned 70-mile trail between Leadville and Salida.

    • Putnam Blueways & Trails Citizen Support Organization (Florida), receiving $5,000 for maintenance along three rail-trails extending 28 miles through Putnam County.

    • City of Union Point (Georgia), receiving $15,000 to help meet the match for a state grant received to construct one of three “model miles” for the Firefly Trail, a developing 39-mile rail-trail that will eventually connect Athens with Union Point.

    • City of Farragut (Iowa), receiving $15,000 to close the final fundraising gap for the restoration of three bridges and paving of a former rail corridor for the Admiral Trail, which will eventually connect to the Wabash Trace Nature Trail.

    • Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail (Massachusetts), receiving $15,000 for design services for the Bourne Rail Trail, a future rail-with-trail that will be a critical link in a developing trail network on Cape Cod.

    • TART Trails (Michigan), receiving $5,000 for development of a brand marketing plan and fundraising feasibility study for the Traverse City-Charlevoix Trail, a 46-mile gap in a nearly 325-mile trail network.

    • Midtown Greenway Coalition (Minnesota), receiving $10,000 to organize neighborhoods and citizens to advocate for a rail-with-trail extension of the Midtown Greenway over the Mississippi River via an existing rail bridge.

    • Mountain Heritage, Inc. (Virginia), receiving $25,000 for the restoration of a former railroad trestle with an innovative shipping container technique, enabling the extension of the Mendota Trail.

    • Cascade Bicycle Club (Washington), receiving $10,000 for efforts to raise community awareness and engagement of the 42-mile Eastside Rail Corridor Trail, which will eventually connect much of King County.

These 10 awardees join the dozens of others from past years who have used their Doppelt Fund awards to develop, extend or enhance multiuse trails in their communities.

For example, last year in western Nebraska, the Cowboy Trail West, Inc. used their Doppelt Fund award to support their efforts to open 17 miles of the Cowboy Trail between Gordon and Rushville. The Detroit Greenways Coalition used their 2017 Doppelt Fund award to help raise awareness and build community and political support for constructing a rail-trail segment of the Joe Louis Greenway—the largest urban trail project within the state of Michigan. The City of Detroit is now moving forward on production of a framework plan and construction drawings to further move the project forward.

Communities are doing amazing things with support from the Doppelt Fund—and we expect to see the same outsized impact on this year’s awardees.

“The projects we supported this year will deliver a lasting impact within their communities, while contributing to RTC’s grand vision of a nation connected by trails,” said Jeff Doppelt, a philanthropist from Great Neck, New York. “It is an honor to provide this much-needed investment in our country’s trails, but the need for additional and large-scale investment is clear. That is why we’ll be announcing a second round of grantees later this year. We want to emphasize how important these projects are and how deep the need is for sustained funding sources.”

Congratulations to all the 2019 grantees! We are thrilled to be able to support the great trail work happening around the country, and we are looking forward to seeing communities using and loving their new or improved trails in the near future.

Eli Griffen
Eli Griffen

Eli Griffen was formerly RTC's Trail Development Resources Manager and is a longtime bicyclist and trail user in Washington, D.C.

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