New section of Rock Island Greenway is officially open
A new section of the scenic Rock Island Greenway in Peoria is open to the public.
After a year of construction, the trail has been extended from Harvard Avenue into Glen Oak Park. Nick McMillion from the Peoria Department of Public Works said in the end, supply chain issues were the only thing holding up the roughly $1.5 million project.
“Basically, it came down to a steel shortage, slash supply chain tie up,” said McMillion. “Ultimately, it’s not unique to us or our situation. It’s something that, you know, is going on nationwide and throughout the world. So it was just kind of one of those unfortunate timing things.”
The steel was used in netting for fencing that runs alongside the trail, such as the protective barrier where it crosses an old railroad bridge over War Memorial Drive.
“It's a great atmosphere and environment to just go out and enjoy yourself,” he said. “Kind of leave your troubles and worries behind and clear your head space and just enjoy yourself.”
The next phase is an extension further into the heart of downtown Peoria — from Park Avenue to Spring Street and the river, said McMillion.
“Once it’s complete, you’re looking at one of the premier trail systems tying into one of the other premier trail systems in the state and across the country,” he said. “There's also the benefit for the City of Peoria, and for the region itself, ultimately. If people are coming in to bike or walk the trail, hopefully when it extends further into these places, maybe they will pop off of the trail. They could get lunch or breakfast, or a drink or a coffee somewhere outside.”
McMillion said the earliest construction could begin on this next phase of the Rock Island Greenway is 2025.
The full Rock Island Greenway is 13 miles of trail that reaches the Alta area. From there, it connects to the larger historic Rock Island Trail that continues until Toulon.
McMillion recommends taking the time to take a look at what Peoria’s new section of the trail has to offer.
“The bridge going over War Memorial, just standing up there walking across it, seeing the view looking out over the McClugage bridge and over across the Illinois River,” he said. “It's a beautiful view.”