State Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa) said Thursday millions of dollars in state grants are heading to Starved Rock State Park for improvements.
Alvin Harper, complex superintendent for Starved Rock and Matthiessen state parks, said the funds were allocated in an appropriations bill enacted April 19, bringing about $10 million to Starved Rock. The next step is for the Capital Development Board to bid out the project to a design team and/or engineering firm, meaning construction and improvements might not commence in 2023.
Working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Yednock said the latest plans call for trail improvements at the Tonti Canyon and La Salle Canyon Bridge and Trail System that will involve upgrading or replacing timber bridges, stairways, wooden boardwalks and retaining walls
Additionally, trail improvements at the lower French Canyon River Trail bridge/Jacob’s Ladder, to remove and replace a bridge and expand the boardwalk connecting one bridge to a stairway
Improvements also include replacement of a bridge and stairway on Pontiac Canyon Bluff Trail, upgrades to the park’s water filtration systems and addition of five new vault toilets for visitors and electrical upgrades to 58 campground sites, to provide stronger service for RVs.
Yednock noted additional millions of dollars for infrastructure upgrades and additions will be announced in the coming months for Matthiessen State Park, Illini State Park and the Illinois and Michigan Canal.
Earlier this summer, Yednock said he met with officials from IDNR and the State’s Capital Development Board to tour the park sites. They discussed needed improvements and the funds needed to make them.
“Improved bridges, walkways, and electrical, water and toilet systems are the critical infrastructure needed to keep Starved Rock as a world-class tourist destination every year,” Yednock said. “I’m excited to work with the state agencies to get these projects going in the coming months and to build on the wonderful outdoor recreational centers we have right here in our backyard.”
Initial funds have been released for the Starved Rock priority projects and planning work will begin later this year.