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Peoria taking next step toward extending Rock Island Greenway

The City of Peoria’s public works department is taking the next steps toward a long-planned extension of the Rock Island Greenway.

Public Works Deputy Director Andrea Klopfenstein says the goal of the final phase is to connect the shared-use path from Park Avenue to Spring Street and the existing Riverfront Trail system.

“The path it would take is: From Park to Abington, it's along the old railroad right of way,” said Klopfenstein, who is also the city engineer. “So, the railroad tracks are still there; those would come out (and) the path would go in.

From there, the path would proceed along Abington Street, crossing Adams Street to Grant Street, then following the U.S. Corps of Engineers driveway southwest to the Detweiller Marina.

“There is existing trail along the riverfront that is eight feet wide; we would be tearing that out and putting in a path that is 10 feet wide, so it will be wider and have a new path that will be smoother and easier to use,” she said.

Klopfenstein says they were originally awarded a $710,000 grant through the federally funded Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP), following the opening of the greenway’s expansion between Park and Harvard avenues.

She says after looking at the final extension in more detail, it was determined the project cost had been underestimated.

“We gave the grant back and continued the planning and design with local funds,” said Klopfenstein, adding they now will apply for a grant of around $1 million for construction and engineering costs.

“The project is just under $2 million, total,” she added. “If we don't receive the grant, then we'll have to go back to the drawing board to try and find funding to fund the project.”

Klopfenstein said the project is still in the design phase. An informational public meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday to share the preliminary plans before they submit the new grant application.

Peoria Park District Executive Director Emily Cahill says they are eager to see the Rock Island Greenway expanded.

“Generally, we provide the maintenance for the Rock Island Greenway; it's our job to make sure that it is travelable and that it is in good order,” Cahill said. “We collaborate really well with the city to support this amenity that's something that has grown from really something that probably was targeted as recreation only; we know that it's something that people use to get to and from work.

“So it's become a really important part of the personality of Peoria, and we look forward to continuing to expand that amenity in our community. Not many communities the size of Peoria can talk about having 52 miles of trails, of which the Rock Island Greenway is a significant part of that total.”

Residents can attend Thursday’s public meeting in person at the Woodruff Career and Technical Center, or virtually on Microsoft Teams.

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.