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IDNR announces more than $1 million in Recreational Trails Program grants

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[AUG. 1, 2005]  SHELBYVILLE -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced on July 27 the award of more than $1 million in grants to fund recreational trail development projects in seven Illinois communities. The trails will provide more opportunities for fun and fitness for Illinoisans and are expected to attract visitors to the state.

"Wherever you go in the state, trails are packed," said Joel Brunsvold, director of the Department of Natural Resources. "These types of trails provide a safe place to have fun. Runners, walkers, hikers and bicyclists can avoid traffic on the streets. [Trails] increase quality of life in communities as well, which attracts new business."

Funding for the grants is supported by the federal government's Recreational Trails Program, which provides 80 percent of the cost of the trail projects. Local sponsors provide the balance of the funding for the projects. Grants may be awarded for the acquisition of land from willing sellers; for trail construction and rehabilitation; restoration of areas damaged by unauthorized trail uses; construction of trail-related support facilities, such as picnic areas, parking and restrooms; and educational programs. The program is administered in Illinois by the Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"These trails provide recreational opportunities year-round," Brunsvold said. "In the winter, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers may use these same trails."

The projects were recommended for funding by the Illinois Greenways and Trails Council, a panel that includes representatives of statewide motorized and nonmotorized trail user organizations, statewide agency organizations, organizations with expertise in greenways and trails, and metro-area greenways and trails coalitions.

Communities interested in applying for the next round of recreational trails grants should contact the IDNR Division of Grant Administration, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271; phone (217) 782-7481. The annual application deadline is March 1.

This year's Recreational Trails Program grant recipients, grant amounts and project descriptions are listed below.

2005 Recreational Trails Program grants

Adams County Mental Health and Retardation Association, Adams County -- $228,000 to develop approximately 1.8 miles of trails, most of which will be accessible to individuals in wheelchairs. The project also includes a picnic shelter, a site access road and a parking area within the 77-acre Camp Sacajawea, a public outdoor recreation facility open to everyone. The camp is located three miles south of Quincy on Ghost Hollow Road. Local contact: Barbara Baker Chapin, (217) 223-0413.

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Galena Territory Association, Jo Daviess County
-- $192,860 to renovate six miles of a 22-mile public equestrian wilderness trail system that is also open for hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. The project will improve the trails by widening the trail corridor and by installing distance markers. Sedimentation and erosion control will also be addressed by installing culverts in creek beds and stream crossings. The trails are located off U.S. Route 20 southeast of Galena. Local contact: Madelynn Wilharm, (915) 777-2000.

Glen Carbon, Madison County -- $186,120 to develop a one-mile public hiking and cross-country skiing trail with a surface of limestone screenings. Much of the trail will be accessible to wheelchair use. The trail will also include interpretive signs and rest areas. The trail will be developed in Green Space North Park with site access from North Main Street in Glen Carbon. Local contact: Walter Blotevogel, (618) 656-4166.

Peoria Park District, Peoria County -- $177,600 to develop a 3.5-mile wood-chip hiking trail with a 0.3-mile hard surface for wheelchair accessibility through the wooded bluffs of Robinson Park. The project also includes the construction of several wooden footbridges, boardwalks, trail benches, interpretive signs and landscape restoration. Robinson Park is located north of Peoria on Mossville Road. Local contact: Bonnie Noble, (309) 686-3352.

Shelbyville, Shelby County -- $75,200 to assist with the re-establishment and improvements to an existing four-mile multiuse trail. The trail was originally created in the 1970s as a year-round trail, including snowmobiling, but it has since become overgrown and mostly unusable. The finished trail will be 10 feet in width with a limestone surface and have two-foot-wide shoulders. Local contact: Jerry Yockey, (217) 774-4001.

South Elgin, Kane County -- $20,000 to renovate an existing one-mile hiking and cross-country skiing trail through East Avenue Park. The project also includes the construction of a footbridge, construction of an observation deck at the edge of a pond, trail benches and interpretive signs. The park is located on the east edge of the village, along East Avenue. Local contact: Jim Reuter, (847) 742-0299.

Vienna, Johnson County -- $177,000 to construct a 90-foot-long pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Little Cache Creek, a 0.2-mile-long trail connecting the city of Vienna with the Tunnel Hill State Trail, a picnic shelter and a gravel parking lot. The project also includes the donation of a parcel of land to the city from the Vienna Civic Club. The site is located east of the city, along Illinois Route 146. Local contact: Jody Johnson, (618) 658-9719.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release]

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