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Jacksonville Park Foundation board member Peggy Davidsmeyer gives a tour of the trail leading to the Lake Jacksonville walk/run/ride bridge.

Jacksonville Park Foundation board member Peggy Davidsmeyer gives a tour of the trail leading to the Lake Jacksonville walk/run/ride bridge to cyclist Sandy Ballard.

The vote for a walk/run/ride bridge at Lake Jacksonville is scheduled for Monday night 12 September 2016, and a show of support is needed to get this item passed. Plans available to download from DropBox. With the bridge complete hikers/runners/riders will be able to go around the lake without risking IL-267. And families with small kids will have about a mile stretch of no/low+slow traffic road to walk or ride together in the woods.

What you can do . . .

  • Contact the Mayor and your aldermen (directory link) and express your support of the bridge, your experience visiting trails in other towns (and going to restaurants, shops and other pocketbook adventures while you were there). This project will not only be good for community health but also for the local economy.
  • Meeting 6pm Monday, 2nd floor of city hall. Process starts with study session, then vote comes later when meeting moves next door to council chambers.

Keep in mind the history on this . . .

  • When this walk/run/ride bridge came to the fore 2 years ago some residents of the lake subdivisions went through their county representatives to stop the project. The city attorney determined all this was on city land, and planning could progress.
  • After that and committee meetings former Parks & Lakes Chairman Alderman Bruce McDaniel asked Benton & Associates to donate a design for the bridge (thanks!).
  • That info and budget was used to request needed funds as part of this year’s city capital budget, and the bridge survived a challenge at that point.
  • Lately the counter argument has been the city needs to first do a trail to get campers to the concession stand and even around the entire lake, with the bridge as the final step — even though a lake trail has been kicked around since a 2003 city/county bike plan and for at least a decade as part of the city’s comprehensive plan, with no action.

Let’s pick the low-hanging fruit . . . Put in this bridge. Get a short trail for families to walk or ride. Get a way for confident bikers get around the lake on county roads without becoming roadkill on 267. Let the mountain bike club and others start volunteering to create trails at the lake which don’t require people to scramble over slippery concrete at the spillway to ford Big Sandy Creek. Get fishers easier access to more shoreline. Build on the short stretch for a trail around the lake or eventually a path into town. Open the lake for walking, running, cycling — for those who camp at the lake, and for the general city populace.

Post by Steve Warmowski, Friends of the Trails Initiative of the Jacksonville Park Foundation