During the Thursday evening board-of-whole meeting, Dale Bassi said
he is part of a group that has been meeting a couple of years
looking for ways to enhance bicycle riding in Logan County.
One of the bigger efforts that has been under way has been to
create bike trail that would run from Chicago to St. Louis along
Interstate 55, with the Logan County segment running through
Atlanta, Lincoln and Elkhart.
There are many options, Bassi said. The current focus is on the
segment from Elkhart to Lincoln and could fit the Rails-to-Trails
program, in which abandoned rail lines are made into trails.
"This is a national interest program. I've probably ridden in at
least 20 states with these trails. It's very popular," he said.
The group recently met here with the Illinois Department of
Natural Resources. The big challenge is crossing Salt Creek, which
has two options, a bridge along the old Amtrak route that's east of
Lincoln Parkway or follow old Route 4, just west of the highway,
where there are old bridge abutments still standing.
Either way, the estimated costs of $1.7 million to $1.8 million
are a bit staggering for the little guy, and that is why it is
important to get local governments involved, Bassi said.
When a new bridge is put in to go over Salt Creek, it is hoped to
have a bicycle lane.
A lot of the work can be done through grants. As an example,
there's a 100 percent federally funded grant available through the
state's Safe Routes to Schools program, which establishes bicycle
trails to schools.
Bassi said his group has been working on a bike plan with trails
in communities throughout Logan County. They are looking at options
in Lincoln such as along Kickapoo Street, the new Fifth Street Road
project and other locations.
Bassi said that he travels to ride several times a year and would
be going to Michigan to ride around the lake next week.
"It's really nice to find somewhere that has an interconnected
set of trails," he said.
He explained that it's really good for a community. In terms of
economic development, when you have people come to ride your trails,
they stay in your hotels or bed-and-breakfast establishments. It
also promotes a healthy lifestyle, he said.
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The communities of Williamsville and Sherman have been working
together the past year and a half to establish a trail along the old
interurban railroad line, which is one option Logan County is also
The trail from Springfield to Chatham is a very nice trail, he
Logan County could bridge a gap that would attract distance
"We're in a pretty good strategic position as far as bicyclists,
because there is a good system in Springfield and a very good system
in Bloomington," Bassi said.
"There's a lot of things in our favor. If we just get some things
in process and try to take it one step at a time, I think eventually
we'll have some success," he said. "There are a lot of people other
than just us that hope we get this trail in."
Pat O'Neill commented that the most common complaint he has heard
from families living out Fifth Street Road is that there is no place
for kids to ride bikes or even walk.
Bassi immediately thought of a route that might be possible to
get from the subdivision there to West Lincoln-Broadwell and might
be able to get funding through the Safe Routes for Schools.
Schumacher said she would get back to the board later when more
information on the grant she is working on is available.