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Master Plan for the Wabash River Greenway

In 2008, planning began for the urban corridor within the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette, and it was completed in 2010. The rural corridor planning effort began in 2009 and focused on the rural sections of the corridor, including its connection to the urban section and the river’s tributaries in Tippecanoe County. The rural plan, was done at a more broad, conceptual level than the urban plan, and it was also completed in 2010. The rural plan’s overarching concept envisions creation of a Wabash River Greenway along the county’s Wabash River corridor and its tributaries. Drawing from the experience of greenways elsewhere in Indiana and across the nation, a Wabash River greenway could offer multiple benefits to the Wabash River ecosystem, the local economy, and the quality of life of the county’s residents, labor force and visitors.

A greenway will provide unique opportunities to build upon both past accomplishments, such as the Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Department’s string of parks along the river corridor, and current initiatives to enhance the Wabash River by the WREC and its partners. It will stimulate a coalition of diverse but complementary interests in agriculture, outdoor recreation, public health, economic development, land conservation, ecosystem restoration, historic preservation, and place-based education. Such a coalition will require leadership and a long-term commitment to making the greenway a reality led by the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation and its partners. The Wabash River Greenway will differ from most greenways, as it will be a working greenway with land ownership being retained by private and public sector entities. The corridor’s aesthetic, environmental, economic, and cultural resources will be managed, preserved, conserved, and enhanced to meet greenway goals and objectives through a partnership of the corridor’s willing private and public sector partners. Creation of a greenway along the Wabash River corridor will generate increased land value, spur sustainable economic development directly through increased local traffic, tourism and visitor related services; and indirectly through fostering a vibrant place of choice with a high quality of life that attracts and retains residents, including the existing and prospective leadership and work force targeted by the communities’ economic development efforts. The greenway will facilitate improved corridor ecological health directly through the implementation of sustainable environmental management practices and policies; and indirectly through instilling a vested interest, awareness, and concern for the corridor by those who live, work, and play in, and near the corridor.

Learn more about the rural corridor and planning recommendations in our map gallery.

Meeting Our Goals

Implementing the Greenway Plan is a long term commitment. WREC and our partners identified a three prong strategy to complete implementation.

Strategy 1: Building Support for the Greenway
One of the greenway’s most compelling arguments is that it would build upon past accomplishments and current initiatives. By “connecting the dots,” it would help create a new identity for resources now fragmented by many landowners, as well as provide new opportunities for the public’s appreciation and enjoyment of those resources. But the greenway cannot be realized without broad public support. It will require a well-conceived and executed communications strategy to gain that support from diverse interests.

Strategy 2: Managing Greenway Resources and Enhancing Greenway Experiences
The Wabash River’s landscapes, natural communities and cultural sites provide a complex of resources, most of which are owned and managed by private landowners. How those resources are managed and the extent to which they contribute to the greenway concept will depend upon new initiatives to work cooperatively with landowners, to acquire parklands and preserves, and to insure the effective use of mandates and incentives in the county’s zoning and subdivision ordinances.

While opportunities already exist for the public’s enjoyment of the greenway, further investments are needed to enhance the quality and diversity of greenway experiences. Municipal, county and state agencies, and nonprofit organizations should be encouraged to coordinate their planning, capital projects, and operations in a manner mutually beneficial to their individual interests and the greenway.

Strategy 3: Developing a Greenway Partnership
The greenway’s implementation will require an effective and sustainable partnership that can successfully engage in collaborative initiatives. Its functions would include:

  • Setting priorities and milestones
  • Being a leading voice for the greenway
  • Advanced planning
  • Undertaking projects and programs
  • Fundraising
  • Monitoring progress and celebrating success

Several options exist for structuring the partnership, which include: an informal arrangement among interested parties, a partnership defined by a cooperative agreement, or an incorporated partnership entity. In addition to providing new opportunities to simply experience the river and its setting, the greenway can accommodate diverse goals that include:

  • Sustaining the agricultural economy
  • Encouraging physical exercise
  • Enhancing the value of adjoining properties
  • Providing educational opportunities
  • Preserving cultural heritage
  • Improving water quality
  • Restoring natural habitats

Planning Documents

Master Plan for the Wabash River Greenway

Wabash Greenway Executive Summary