Durbin: Cal-Sag Trail's Western Section Now Open for Southland Residents to Enjoy
[PALOS HEIGHTS, IL] -- Residents of the Chicago Southland can now enjoy 13 miles of scenic trails and riverfront accessibility, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the western portion of the Cal-Sag Trail on National Trails Day. The completed, 26-mile trail will stretch from Lemont eastward near the Indiana border, turning an underutilized riverfront into an inviting recreational area. Durbin has supported the trail since its early stages, helping secure $22.7 million in federal funding over the course of the project.
“Since I first met with community members about the Cal-Sag Trail nearly a decade ago, I have worked to secure the federal funds needed to make it a reality,” Durbin said. “Trails that provide recreation opportunities for walkers, runners and cyclists are growing in popularity across our state and it’s easy to see why. If you want to keep health care costs down, give people a beautiful space to exercise. If you want to prevent bumper-to-bumper traffic, create a scenic trail so people can bike to work or to school or to the store. The Cal-Sag is more than a trail, it is a treasure. I congratulate the Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and all who have worked so hard to make this day happen.”
“In addition to being Illinois' most senior member on the U.S. House Transportation Committee, I am an avid cyclist and runner,” said Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-03). “I'm very excited about the Cal-Sag Trail and all the transportation and recreation opportunities it creates. That is why I have always strongly supported the trail. The Cal-Sag Trail provides a critical missing link in our trail system that I look forward to enjoying. It's a great day for families all across south and southwest Cook County and all the way to Joliet.”
“The Cal-Sag Trail is an example of the benefits that can come when communities, non-profit organizations and government agencies work together on a common goal,” said Toni Preckwinkle, President of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. “The Cal-Sag Trail offers a vital east-west trail connection for residents of south suburban Cook County, and also provides them with an opportunity to connect to the network of trails within our Forest Preserves.”
“The federal funding secured by Senator Durbin early on was the catalyst needed to put this project on the fast track,” said Debbie Stoffregen, current President of the Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail. "Today wouldn't have been possible without his support.”
The Cal-Sag Trail will be the primary east-west multi-purpose trail in the south suburbs built almost entirely along the banks of the Cal-Sag Channel and Calumet River. Once fully completed, the Cal-Sag Trail will connect 14 communities and 450,000 people, providing the backbone for linking regional recreational trails. Seven miles of the 13-mile west segment is in the Forest Preserves of Cook County from Lemont to Palos Park. The preserves offer an additional connection to a number of other trail systems within the region. Eighty percent of the $10 million cost for the western portion of the trail was paid for by federal funds.
The Cal-Sag Trail was first envisioned in 2004 by a diverse collaboration of local municipalities and nonprofits that became the Cal-Sag Trail Coalition. The coalition is comprised of local governments along the Cal-Sag Channel and Little Calumet River as well as partners from local not-for-profits, County, State and Federal offices. Members who have funded engineering of the trail are: Alsip Park District, City of Blue Island, City of Calumet City; Dolton Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Village of Burnham, and the Village of Riverdale.
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