Sterling Park District finishes another piece of its multiuse path to Sauk

A half mile section of multi-use path has been completed between Woodlawn Road and River Road as seen Wednesday, June 14, 2023 in Sterling. The Sterling Park District project will eventually extend out to Sauk Valley College sometime in 2026.

STERLING – Another section of the Sterling Park District’s multi-use trail, which eventually will end at Sauk Valley Community College, is done and ready for action.

The new half-mile leg, which runs from Woodlawn Road to River Road, cost about $235,000 and was finished last week.

It is part of a planned 4.25-mile biking, jogging and walking path that will run from Hoover Park, next to Woodlawn Arts Academy, 3807 Woodlawn Road, on Sterling’s east end, all the way to the college at 173 state Route 2.

Construction on the next section, from River Road to 43rd Avenue, just east of the Walmart Supercenter, will begin after the harvest is in this fall, park district Director Larry Schuldt said.

It’s a little longer a stretch, about three-quarters of a mile, and will cost about $400,000.

If all goes as expected, it will be finished in late spring or early summer, Schuldt said.

“That’s the game plan,” he said.

The first section of the path was built from the Hoover Park parking lot to Parkview Road, behind the academy, then an existing path off Woodlawn Road was widened, all for about $120,000.

All of the work done so far was paid for with private donations; no park district money was used, Schuldt said.

Getting the path the rest of the way to Sauk, though, will cost about $3 million, and for that part of the project the district will apply for a federal transportation grant.

“We like our chances” of winning the grant, Schuldt said. They can’t apply for the money until August 2024, so although he was hoping the path would be finished in 2026, that now might get pushed to sometime in ‘27, or even ‘28, he said.

When first envisioned, Schuldt said he assumed the path would be for purely recreational use, but now, given the rise in gas prices and the onset of the popularity of electric bikes, “I do think you’ll see more people riding [the trail] to Sauk to go to school or to work,” he said.

The Dixon City Council and Lee County also are pursuing a planning grant to map out a trail to Sauk


The path to Sauk is not the park district’s only multi-use trail. Go to and click on the parks and trails tab for a recently updated map of all of its trails, parks and facilities.

Hard copies also are available at Westwood Fitness & Sports Center, 1900 Westwood Drive off West LeFevre Road, and at the Duis Center, 211 E. 23rd St.

Sterling Park District map
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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.