By TESA GLASS firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — The city will be applying for a new round of Illinois Transportation Enhancement grants aimed at expanding the trails system.
“The Trails Committee recommended a couple of options for a route,” explained Bonnie Jerdon, city tourism director. “An engineer is looking at the cost and what may be grant eligible in those areas.”
The city council approved preparing and submitting an ITEP grant during its meeting earlier this week. The two options for a grant-funded trail include extending the trail on Richview Road from 27th Street to 42nd Street or extending the trail on Veterans Memorial Drive at Good Samaritan Regional Health Center to 34th Street or further.
“I may be able to connect as far east as 12th Street, if the money would take us that far,” Jerdon said. “That’s what we’re determining at this time.”
The application is due later this month, and it usually takes three to six months for grant awards to be determined by the state. Jerdon said she is hoping to find out if the city is approved for grant funding in the newest round of grants by late this year or early 2014.
“Our first round of off road trails are being completed now,” Jerdon said. “The Casey Middle School Trail is almost completed. We have other trails that are part of road projects called ‘complete streets’ such as South 34th Street and the new Davidson bypass that have bike and pedestrian facilities included. We also have striped bike lanes. We are getting to the point we have connections and loops for cycling and pedestrians.”
Jerdon said the purpose of the Trails Committee has been to connect major attractions and public facilities to serve several purposes.
“One purpose is for the public to use the routes as alternative transportation,” Jerdon said. “Another is as a recreational tool.”