Officials from the Forest Preserve District of Will County and the Naperville Park District gathered at Knoch Knolls Park in Naperville on Tuesday, May 17, to break ground for a 1-mile extension of the DuPage River Trail
The link will tie together many preserves, parks and cities in the region. The trail extension is scheduled to be completed in late summer or early fall of 2016. The $2.1 million project
will extend the asphalt path southwest from Knoch Knolls Park to the 95th Street bridge over the DuPage River.
“This is extremely special to me,” said Suzanne Hart, president of the Forest Preserve Board, who is past president of the Naperville Park District Board. “Everyone knows I’m a runner, so any of these trail connections are fabulous.”
The trail extension is the result of collaboration between the Forest Preserve District and the Naperville Park District.
Eighty percent of the project’s funding came from a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation and awarded by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). The Forest Preserve District and the Park District contributed 20 percent to the cost as well as land for the project.
“When governmental bodies can come together to work for a common purpose on a project such as this, it’s really encouraging,” said Mike Reilly, the Park District’s Board president.
The DuPage River Trail is a planned 40-mile pathway that is supported by 12 agencies. Ultimately, the trail will begin in northern DuPage County and travel all the way to the DuPage River confluence in Will County near Channahon. About half of the trail is completed currently.
Joseph Szabo, CMAP’s executive director, noted that less than half of the people who live in his agency’s seven-county region have access to parks.
“We have a goal of doubling the amount of greenway trails in our region by the year 2040,” he said. “And so this helps us advance that effort. And it also creates a more sustainably and environmentally friendly way to travel and it eases congestion.”Photo courtesy of Glenn P. Knoblock