The Lake Loop Trail connects to the main trail and allows visitors to walk the perimeter of the 50+ acre lake, acquired in 2014 from the City of Marion. Marion Community Foundation’s past president Brad Bebout was instrumental in the collaboration which added the lake to the Tallgrass property. The lake trail is an 0.8 mile gravel path and, including the portion that connects to the main trail, is 1.3 miles in total length for the full loop.
According to Dan Sheridan of the Marion County Park District, “Counting this year’s construction project, we’ve invested about $3,100,000 in the Trail. Of that, over $800,000 has been money donated by our community, including $332,000 from the generous donors of the Marion Community Foundation.”
Sheridan also recognized four endowment funds which have been established at Marion Community Foundation by private individuals specifically to support Prairie Parks and the Trail in perpetuity. Those funds include: Don Alspach Memorial Fund, Dr. & Mrs. Glen Burton Memorial Fund, Jerry Davis Prairie Parks Foundation Fund, and Terradise Nature Preserve Fund. Each of these funds makes annual grants for development and maintenance of Prairie Parks’ projects. Major support has also been provided by the Foundation’s Health Care Fund and Robert M. and Dorothy C. Wopat Community Fund.
“We’ve leveraged grants from these funds as matching local funds to help us secure state monies,” said Sheridan, noting grants from the Clean Ohio Green Space Fund and the Clean Ohio Trails Fund which have been used in the building of the Tallgrass Trail.
“We’ve applied for a Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant that we hope will allow us to finish the trail to the county line next year, and need to raise an additional $43,000 by next year in order to match that grant,” said Sheridan.
“We have supported the Tallgrass Trail in every phase of its construction,” said Dean Jacob, President and CEO of Marion Community Foundation. “We are proud of our donors who see the value of the Trail and its positive contribution to the quality of life in Marion County. It is another jewel in Marion’s crown. And, we greatly appreciate that the Foundation is being permanently recognized for its substantial and ongoing support of the Marion Tallgrass Trail.”
In addition to the endowed funds which annually support Tallgrass, several other funds at Marion Community Foundation have contributed to the project, including the Mary H. Hollaway Fund, Evelyn E. Walter Foundation Fund, Francis & Thelma Wise Fund, Helen Cunningham Handicapped Fund, R&C Fund, Founders’ Fund, Paul & Susan Ludwig Charitable Fund, and William K. Davis Fund.