Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

February 15, 2013

TREC looking to add rest area

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — While advocates of a multi-use trail system have developed more than six miles of trail in less than a decade, Trail Recreation Effingham County isn't content to rest on its collective laurels.

TREC Board President Frank Brummer outlined several loose ends the group can work on in 2013 during the board's annual meeting Thursday. For one thing, financing is in place for a section of trail that will extend from the intersection of Outer Belt West and Calico Trail southeast to the Fayette Avenue interstate interchange. From there, a pedestrian bridge will take trail users over the interstate and into Effingham.

Brummer said that segment will be primarily financed by an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant for $251,670. Total project cost is expected to be around $322,000.

Brummer also talked about a pending land acquisition that would add 50 acres to TREC property. He declined to discuss many details of the proposed sale, but he did say TREC hoped to develop the square tract into a rest area for trail users that would include a playground, benches, and possibly restrooms.

"We don't have a designated plan," Brummer said. "But the goal is amenities for trail users."

Brummer said the land is between the Ryan's Crossing bridge and Lake Sara. Ryan's Crossing is the bridge over the Little Wabash River completed as part of Phase 1.

Upcoming goals for the group in 2014 include:

* Partnering with Effingham County to build Phase 3 trails, one from Nazarene Church Road to Hilltop Estates and from the current trail to the Lake Sara area.

* Completion by the county of a 6-foot shoulder on both sides of West Evergreen Avenue between Outer Belt West and Nazarene Church Road.

* Completion of the bike-pedestrian bridge over Interstate 57/70

* Building a trail along U.S. 40 from the Effingham High School sports complex to Outer Belt West.

* Completion by the City of Effingham of a sidewalk between the Effingham Performance Center to Outer Belt West.

* Begin engineering for Phase 4, the segment from Calico Trail to Fayette Avenue.

* Continue to support a comprehensive plan for bikes and pedestrians.

During Thursday's annual meeting, board members Dan Woods, Eric Zeller, Karen Luchtefeld and Bill Austin were all re-elected for three-year terms.

All existing officers were retained for another one-year term. They include Brummer, president; Austin, vice president; Woods, secretary; and Ken Vogt, treasurer.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com