© 2023 Peoria Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Local Government Partnership On Track to Purchase Rail Corridor For Hanna City Trail

Michael Bruner / Tri-County Regional Planning Commission

Proponents of the proposed Hanna City Trail may see a light at the end of a decades-long tunnel, following a vote at Farmington’s city council meeting Monday night.

Farmington approved the city’s participation in an intergovernmental agreement with Hanna City and Peoria County to purchase a nearly 25-mile stretch of a decommissioned railway corridor running between Bellevue and Middlegrove.

Hanna City Mayor Fred Winterroth was present Monday and joined by other trail advocates to offer encouragement to Farmington’s council and answer questions regarding the proposed purchase. The vote was welcome news to Winterroth who has advocated for the trail’s creation consistently throughout his 23 years as mayor.

“I’m relieved,” said Winterroth. “This has been a long, hard-fought battle. It's just a wonderful opportunity for our communities and I really see a lot of economic development aspect for this trail.”

Farmington resident Jeff Vogel told the council that as a taxpayer he supported the public expense and that he has heard from others in the community who want to help develop the trail.

“I just don’t think that it's gonna be an issue getting volunteers to do this...I’ve personally witnessed the amount of volunteerism that will pop up out of the woodwork, so I encourage you guys to vote for it,” Vogel said.

With Farmington in agreement, the group now awaits approval of a federal grant that could cover 80% of the estimated $2 million cost to purchase the property from Union Pacific.

There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. Donate now, and help fund your public media.

Tory Dahlhoff is a freelance reporter based at WCBU. He's also the host of the food and farming podcast Food Trek.