Sangamon Valley Trail opens to the public
The State Journal-Register
Phase I of the 5.5 mile Sangamon Valley Trail on Springfield’s west side opened to the public Tuesday morning.
Joggers, dog-walkers and bicyclists have been using the new trail practically since grading began last fall.
Opening of the $3.7 million trail linking Centennial Park on Springfield’s southwest side to Stuart Park on the northwest side has been anticipated all summer.
The origins of the project stretch back at least a decade.
“This trail has been a long time in the making,” said Leslie Sgro, president of the Springfield Park District. “And it took many different partners to make it a reality.”
A grand-opening ceremony under a white tent pitched in the new trailhead parking lot along Hedley Road featured dignitaries from entities that partnered to make the trail a reality.
Halverson Construction Co. Inc. of Springfield was the contractor.
Sangamon County learned in Dec. 2009 it would receive about $2.9 million in federal stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to help build the trail.
Officials hope planning can start soon on the next phase that would take the trail north of Springfield and across the Sangamon River on a scenic railroad trestle.
Members of the Sangamon County Board, Springfield Park District, Springfield City Council, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Transportation, Senator Dick Durbin’s office and local bicyclists attended.
Members of the Springfield Bicycle Club already had completed a long hot ride before arriving at the 11 a.m. ceremony.
Before adjourning to cut the ribbon, Sam Montalbano vice-chairman of the Sangamon County Board thanked all the trail’s partners and took special note of bike club’s attendance.
“I’d like to thank you all and especially you bike riders who have been to Auburn already this morning,” he said. “And you look like it too.”
Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.