A groundbreaking ceremony held Monday, October 29, at Rockwell Lane in Plainfield signaled another chapter in the multiyear, multijurisdictional Normantown Trail project.
The Forest Preserve District of Will County will extend the trail 0.85-mile from 111th Street in Naperville south to Rockwell Lane in Plainfield at a cost of $300,000. The project could begin this fall and may be completed by July, though weather and other factors could affect the timeline.
“This is so exciting,” said Forest Preserve Board President Suzanne Hart. “ … Just to see these projects come to fruition and become a reality is amazing.”
Normantown Trail is an important link in the region’s trail network, said Plainfield Mayor Michael P. Collins, who noted that the trail will eventually link to the DuPage River Trail, and someday that path will extend all the way to Channahon.
“The Forest Preserve and the village have committed to improving the path and trail system in our region,” Collins said. “When government agencies work together, the community benefits.”
The groundbreaking drew members of the Naperville Bicycle Club.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Forest Preserve District and what they’re doing to coordinate with other communities in the area to connect all of the links in the (trail’s) chain,” said Jeff Wagoner, the bike club’s treasurer. “This trail makes it easier for us to ride with our children and grandchildren because it’s safer.”
The trail link is a welcome addition because of its proximity to residential and commercial areas, added bike club President Daryl Monge. “We like to ride to places like coffee shops and restaurants,” he said.
Normantown Trail planning began in the mid-2000s when Naperville vacated, or gave up, its section of the underutilized Normantown Road. While the road is remaining intact in some areas, other sections are being narrowed, including the extension about to get underway.
“We will be basically cutting a 10-foot section of this trail, milling off the top surface and then overlaying that with new asphalt,” said Andrew Hawkins, the Forest Preserve’s director of planning and development.
The northern 1.5-mile section of Normantown Trail is in place from Vermont Cemetery Preserve to 111th Street. The southern section of the trail, from 127th Street to 135th Street, also has been completed.
The Village of Plainfield and the Plainfield Park District plan to create a 2.2-mile section of the shared-road trail in the middle – from 119th Street to 127th Street – in a year or two, said Jonathan Proulx, the village’s planning director. And a 0.15-mile segment of the trail will remain shared road so vehicles can continue to access Rockwell Lane from 111th Street.
Once completed, Normantown Trail will extend 4.7 miles from Wolf’s Crossing Road in Naperville to 135th Street in Plainfield and it will link two of the District’s preserves: Vermont Cemetery and Wolf Creek.
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