Will County trail, bridge projects get state funding

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Two Will County communities are among 19 across the state to receive funds from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for recreational trail development projects.

More than $3.7 million has been awarded to help communities meet the growing demand for improved trails and outdoor recreation facilities, the state announced in a news release Wednesday.

“These projects will help provide safe places for children and families, hikers, bike riders and horseback riders to enjoy the outdoors,” said Natalie Phelps Finnie, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which administers the federal Recreational Trails Program. “IDNR is pleased to partner with local governments to construct, improve and maintain trails that benefit communities throughout Illinois.”

The program provides up to 80% reimbursement to local grant recipients for the cost of trail projects, with local sponsors providing the balance of the funding, according to the release.

In Will County, the city of Lockport will be receiving $200,000 for the Eighth Street pedestrian bridge replacement, and the Manhattan Park District is tabbed to get $200,000 for the Round Barn Farm trails.

Grants may be awarded for land acquisition, trail construction and rehabilitation, the purchase of equipment for trail development and maintenance, the restoration of areas damaged by unauthorized trail use, the construction of trail-related support facilities such as parking and restrooms, and educational programs.

“Trail development projects contribute to safer transportation and improved recreation opportunities across Illinois,” Gov. JB Pritzker said. “This grant program helps us maintain these indispensable spaces for bike riders, hikers, joggers and families to enjoy our state’s natural beauty.”

The 19 projects were recommended for funding by the Illinois Greenways and Trails Council, which is overseen by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and is made up of representatives of statewide motorized and nonmotorized user organizations, state agencies, organizations involved in greenways and trails, and metro-area greenways and trails coalitions.

For information, visit https://dnr.illinois.gov/news.html.