SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced more than $1.2 million in grants to communities to help develop new bicycle trails or to widen or repair existing bicycle trails in northeastern Illinois.
“Bicycles are an important means of transportation, recreation and exercise. From the youth who rides his bicycle a few blocks to the park after school to the weekend rider out to stay in shape and lose a few pounds, people depend on bicycle trails to provide a safe area on which to ride,” Blagojevich said.
“We are able to build and restore these trails because of the strong partnership between the state of Illinois and the local communities that build them,” said Blagojevich, noting that at least half of the cost of each project is paid for by the local community.
Three of the funded projects resolve safety problems by developing bridges or other safety elements, including the grants for DuPage County-DOT, Geneva Park District, and Lake County-DOT. The Chicago Park District, DuPage County-DOT, and McHenry County Conservation District projects all are part of the Grand Illinois Trail, a 475-mil trail that loops from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River and back.
The grants, administered by the Department of Natural Resources, reimburse local governments for half the cost to develop a trail, up to a maximum of $200,000.
“Bicycle riding is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in Illinois, enjoyed by young and old alike,” said Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. “From smaller, neighborhood trails to more expansive paths, Illinois has a variety of trails for the public to enjoy. The terrain includes flat prairie land, to rolling hills, to towering bluffs to breathtaking river and lakefront views.”
Grant recipients include:
Chicago Park District (Cook County) $200,000, to redevelop an .55 mile segment of the Lakefront Trail from Melrose Avenue to Addison Street. This highly used trail will be widened from 10 to 14 feet. (Local contact: Andrea C. Adams, 312/742-4332)
DuPage County-Division of Transportation, $200,000, to replace a deteriorated, six-foot wide bridge over the East Branch of the DuPage River. This segment of the Prairie Path is highly used and is a link in the Grand Illinois Trail. (Local contact: 630/681-2221)
Geneva Park District (Kane County), $189,700, to construct a 1.7 mile multi-use trail and a bridge over Mill Creek. The trail connects to portions of the Kane County Mid-County Trail, Peck Farm Trail and Mill Creek Trail. (Local contact: Steve Persinger, 630/232-4542)
Kane County Forest Preserve District, $134,500, to construct a 1.5 mile trail and two bridges in Thornton/Sugar Grove Forest Preserves in southern Kane County. The segment is the southernmost section of the Kane County Mid-County Trail and connects to the Gilman National Trail. (Local contact: Jon Duerr, 630/232-1242)
Lake County-Division of Transportation, $134,900, to construct a multi-use trail along the north side of Deerfield Road from Saunders Road to Wilmot Road. The project includes a tunnel under the I-94 ramp. (Local contact: Bruce Christensen, 847/362-7455)
McHenry County Conservation District, $200,000, to construct a 2.2 mile trail connecting the towns of Harvard and Chemung in northwestern McHenry County. The segment is a part of the Grand Illinois Trail. (Local contact: John Kremer, 815/338-6223)
Will County Forest Preserve District, $200,000, to construct 1.2 miles of trail, which will connect the Joliet Junction Trail on the east, and the Rock Run Corridor Trail on the west. (Local contact: Marcella DeMauro, 815/727-8700)