Fulfilling the Promise of Pogue’s Run Trail

For many years, eastsiders have waited for the Pogue’s Run Trail to be completed. Originally conceived in 1994, the proposed Pogue’s Run Greenway is a 5.3 mile corridor starting on 10th Street at the Monon Trail and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, heads northeast along Brookside Parkway North Drive then follows Pogue’s Run waterways until heading north along Olney Street and east on 21st Street to end at the Pogue’s Run Art and Nature Park. The ambitious project has moved forward in fits and starts, with a leg completed on Brookside next to the Circle City Industrial Complex, and the installation of several pieces of public art along what will be the trail. What will eventually be the trailhead at the Pogue’s Run Art and Nature Park has also moved forward, with improvements and greater awareness of the hidden gem of a park on the east side. Now, it appears that a grassroot effort is underway to restore a key part of the middle of the trail.
In July of 2017, residents began a task force to find ways to get plans for Pogue’s Run Trail up and running again. Neighbors from Woodruff Place, Windsor Park, Spades Park, Springdale, St. Clair Place, and other neighborhoods met with city officials, and learned a major hurdle to completing the trail was the historic, but badly deteriorated Nowland Street bridge, just west of Rural Street.

photo courtesy Michael HaskettThe Nowland Ave. bridge in its heyday.

photo courtesy Michael Haskett
The Nowland Ave. bridge in its heyday.

Eastsiders may recognize the structure if they drive on Brookside or Rural. The 1903 filled-spandrel concrete arch bridge, visible from the intersection, was designed by Daniel Luten on Nowland Avenue, now an internal drive of the park. Luten was renowned for his innovative, elegant designs for concrete bridges, and held the patent for the Luten arch. The Nowland Avenue bridge is the oldest surviving Luten designed bridge in the city. Restoring this historic bridge and incorporating it into the trail will be an expensive challenge, but will be an important step forward to completing the trail.
The city encouraged neighbors to seek alternate funding for the design as a way to get the trail going. The task force, which members named Pathways Over Pogues (PoP), has formed to find funds  to design the bridge. As PoP reaches out to foundations and corporations for larger contributions, it also hopes to work with community organizations, businesses, and individuals to crowd-fund $20,000 towards the design and first stages of the project. Reconnecting Our Waterways (ROW) has committed to making the completion of the trail a primary goal in 2018 and is partnering with PoP. Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) has volunteered to match what PoP raises up to $30,000.
PoP created a Web site at PoPIndy.org which provides a direct link to the Pogue’s Run Trail campaign at Indianapolis Parks Foundation, which is acting as PoP’s fiscal agent. The campaign started recently and PoP hopes to reach its goal of $20,000 by May 30 of this year. In addition to crowd-funding through social media, newspapers, and electronic media, PoP is planning fundraising events. One will be at the Tick Tock Lounge on Tuesday, March 27 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. that will include a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. PoP will also be recruiting talent such as musicians, comics, and others to help draw a crowd. Visit the Web site to donate, or mail checks to ndianapolis Parks Foundation, 615 N. Alabama, Suite 119, Indianapolis, IN 46204 — include a note stating the contributions are for the Pogue’s Run Trail campaign.