By TESA GLASS email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Work on a bicycle trail on Veterans Memorial Drive can get underway, after the Illinois Department of Transportation approved the grant-funded project.
“This was originally a grant for the Cedarhurst leg of the Casey Middle School trail,” City Manager Ron Neibert explained. “The city decided to change the project to an area with less neighborhood impact.”
Because the project is funded with Illinois Department of Transportation Enhancement Program Grant funds, any change to the initial project must be approved by IDOT in Springfield. The original grant was awarded to the city in 2009, and will pay $370,000 of the trail project.
The new trail is expected to go on Veterans Memorial Drive from the new Interstate 57/64 interchange to 28th Street and from Veterans Memorial Drive on 34th Street south to Harlan Road, going past the new Aquatic Zoo.
There is already a connection in trails from Potomac Boulevard, down part of Wells Bypass, and according to Mayor Mary Jane Chesley in her State of the City address, the Potomac Trail is expected to connect to Veterans Memorial Drive, with trails built-in to the Interstate 57/64 overpass bridge. The new trail will continue the trail to the east and south.
“Eventually we want to connect most of our parks with trails,” Neibert said. “We have planned a connection from Veterans Park to Lincoln Park, at some point.”
A series of share the road bike trails and multi-use trails are planned throughout the city. Last year, two fitness trails were opened — the two-mile Potomac Fitness Trail and the Summersville Fitness Trail, which starts near Old Fairfield Road and continues east past Summersville Grade School.