TREC Board Agrees to Seek Local Match for Grant Request


Published on May 10 2012 3:29 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Trail Recreation Effingham County Board Thursday again agreed to put their money where their mouth is in support of expanding a network of trails around the Effingham area.

TREC Board members voted to seek a match for a grant being sought to finance a realignment of Calico Trail.  The realignment would involve extending a leg of the trail west off Calico Road before the roadway reaches an old bridge.  The leg would run under Outer Belt West and would then head north to tie into the existing portion of trail west of Outer Belt West.

TREC Board President Frank Brummer doesn't have a cost estimate on the project, but said engineering can proceed now that the Board has given its okay.  Brummer said safety is a key consideration since those who use the portion of the trail wouldn't have to walk or bike across Outer Belt West.  TREC can't use the old bridge since it has been judged structurally unsafe.

The Effingham City Council is to vote Tuesday night on whether to serve as the pass-through agency for the grant request.  There would be no financial obligation to the City.

Brummer said, "We could say, 'the City should help with part of this (matching grant)', but in fairness, the City has done a lot and it's time for TREC to do something in the city." 

The new leg would also line up east-west with the bicycle overpass planned by IDOT over I-57/70 north of the Fayette Avenue interchange.  IDOT's Gary Welton Thursday said work on the overpass will begin this year, and noted that a portion of the trail has been poured in front of Culver's that will extend west to the overpass.

TREC Board member Larry Micenheimer celebrated the progress made, saying the trail extension along West Fayette is proof that "the idea is not for people to drive to the trail, but for people to walk or ride to the trail from their homes."

Meanwhile, the TREC Board also agreed to undertake raising another $300,000 in local matching funds for a $1.2 million grant already received for Phase III of the TREC network.  Phase III involves connecting the current trail to the Lake Sara area.  The work will include parking lots at the end of each of two extensions that will be part of Phase III.

The TREC group is getting excited about a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Ryan's Crossing Bridge that allows the trail network to cross the Little Wabash River.  The bridge is in place and work is underway on the approaches to the bridge.  The ribbon cutting is set for 6pm on Thursday, May 31, with a reception from 5-7pm at the bridge.

County Engineer Greg Koester reported that work is ahead of schedule on West Evergreen Road, which is being rebuilt west of the trail to Nazarene Church Road.  Koester said the road is being realigned, being built up to avoid flooding, and said an overflow is being built to handle excess water.

There was also a report that the stretch of trail planned from the Effingham High School athletic complex to Outer Belt West will be built once the City finishes a sewer line project along Route 40 in the area.