URBANA — Construction on the next phase of the Kickapoo Rail will begin this month in the eastern Champaign County village of Ogden, the Champaign County Forest Preserve District announced Monday.
The 1.5-mile stretch of trail for walking, running and bicycling will go from just west of the Ogden village limits to the Champaign-Vermilion County line just east of town and should be completed by September.
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That is a few miles east of the current trail, which stretches from Urbana to St. Joseph.
Bridgette Moen, planner for the Forest Preserve District, says because of a $2 million cap on the grant they received from the state for this project, if they would have continued the trail east from St. Joseph, it would have stopped before it reached Ogden.
“Instead of doing that, we’re skipping to the village of Ogden, and then we’re at least able to provide a really nice amenity for village residents to have a mile-and-a-half trail.”
Moen says future funding from the state could allow the district to complete the Champaign County portion of the trail in the next couple of years. That also includes extending the trail from where it currently ends in Urbana at the intersection of E. Main St. and E. University Ave., about 0.5 mile west to Weaver Park.
She says the Vermilion County portion of the trail could take a bit longer to complete, but it eventually will run from Urbana to Kickapoo State Park west of Danville.
Lorrie Pearson, Executive Director of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District, says unlike most the of the district’s properties in more rural areas, the rail trail is directly accessible to residents in Urbana, St. Joseph and, soon, Ogden.
“It’s really neat to bring a bit of us to them, rather than asking them to come to us,” Pearson said. “I see it as a great opportunity to connect with our residents.”
Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianMolineWILL.