Trail project approved

By Paul Brizz

The Illinois Department of Conservation approved grant money for additional bicycle pathways in DeKalb.

“We got the grant money on the first try, and we are very happy about it,” said David Emanuelson, executive director of the DeKalb Park District. “In my opinion, the reason we got the money for the project is that we made a case that NIU and DeKalb have less bike trails than other university towns have.”

“Although we got the money after the first grant request was submitted, we actually began working on this about a year-and-a-half ago,” said Sue Guio, administrative secretary to Economic Development.

It was in 1990 that the city council voted to help fund this project and directed us to seek information about the grant program, she said.

A total of $94,900 ($25,000 to the city and $66,900 to the park district) will be awarded for the construction of bicycle paths. The awarded grant money will be equally matched by the respective group.

The extension proposal will connect existing trailways along the Kishwaukee River to create a continuous five-and-one-quarter mile route on the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Pathway.

There are three parts to the extension project. One extension proposes a path which will be one-half mile long and will link Hopkins Park and the nature trail.

The second portion of the pathway will begin at the Kishwaukee River/Tilton Park pedestrian bridge and run parallel to the river and eventually link the new pathway along Sycamore Road.

The third portion will be created with assistance from a $10,000 donation from the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club. It will run on the west side of the Kishwaukee River and connect Huber Park to Lyon’s Park.

“We will not be able to begin construction until the spring because of the frost but during the winter we will be doing engineering work on the design of the pathways,” Guio said.

“The Kiwanis started the bicycle paths in 1974 and (the park district) will continue to build as many paths as it can,” Emanuelson said.

“We have been encouraging the city to develop more bike paths on the NIU campus and in the city, which will allow the students and community to move through town as best as possible,” he said.

“Bike riding is just one way to enjoy a quiet afternoon with your family. These funds allow our cities and park districts to provide more opportunities to enjoy this pastime,” said Sen. Patrick Welch, D-Peru.