Yorkville’s Public Works Committee members are going to discuss – again - accepting a $1.38 million grant for a bike trail along Kennedy Road after three business leaders promised to raise the city’s share of the cost.
Lynn Dubajic, executive director of the Yorkville Economic Development Corporation, told aldermen Tuesday that she and two others are forming a non-profit organization called Push for the Path to raise the city’s $357,320 share. The other two involved are John Ammons, of Wheatland Title Guaranty and president of the economic development corporation’s board, and local real estate agent Maureen Sharp.
“We’re willing to take this from your plate and raise these dollars for the city of Yorkville,” Dubajic said.
The against accepting the grant.
The city would pay its 20-percent share over multiple years, but city leaders need to tell Illinois Department of Transportation officials by the end of January if they want to move forward with the project, City Administrator Bart Olson said.
State officials recently asked city leaders to agree to pay for engineering work associated with the project, with the state paying up to $190,240 and the city paying $47,560. Those engineering costs are included in the overall project and $1.38 million grant totals.
The 2.72-miles of trail would run along Kennedy Road from Route 47 to Mill Road, which is just south of Galena Road. There is a sidewalk along a portion of that section of Kennedy Road. The sidewalk sits on the south side of Kennedy Road from Route 47 to near Christy Lane.
“Ultimately, the Kennedy Road trail would connect Yorkville to the Fox River Trail (total 46.2 miles), the Virgil Gilman Trail (17.2 miles) and the Illinois Prairie Path (61 miles) in addition to a number of shorter area trail systems,” Laura Schraw, Yorkville’s interim director of Parks and Recreation, wrote in a Nov. 4 memo.
The Kennedy Road trail also would run past the site of the 2009 accident that killed Yorkville resident Darlene McCue after she was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle with her daughter.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Ward 3 Alderman Marty Munns said amenities such as bike trails could encourage people to move to Yorkville, which in turn would spur economic development.
“Do we let the town become a ghost town and no one moves here? Or do we take a chance and build some amenities?” Munns said. “Sometimes you’ve got to take one step backward to take two steps forward.”
Meanwhile, Ward 2 Alderman Larry Kot said he doesn’t think the city can afford the trail but doesn’t object to someone else footing the bill. He questioned whether the private fundraising effort would be enough to secure the grant, though.
“That’s nothing more than a promise at this point, and I don’t think IDOT wants to enter into an agreement with a promise that someone else is going to pay it,” Kot said.
After the meeting, Dubajic said she expected the city would have to enter the agreement and promise to cover the funds if, for some reason, the private fundraising efforts fell short.