Feds could put detour on Phase 2 plans for bike path
Jan 30, 2013 | 1292 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ever have a project that was almost complete only to learn there were several hoops to jump through before the finish line is even in view?

That’s the conundrum facing the Metropolis City Council, which was informed at its meeting Monday that it needs to have an appraisal — and then a review of that appraisal — of an easement for Phase 2 of the George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail (GRCDT).

The vision for GRCDT traces back to the 1970s when the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), acquired portions of abandoned Illinois Central Gulf Railroad right-of-way along the Brookport spur with the hope that someday a bike and pedestrian trail would be developed.

The vision was picked up in 1997 when, with the designation of the Ohio River National Scenic Byway, Main Street Golconda in partnership Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau and IDNR envisioned bike trails and pedestrian trails along the length of the corridor from Gallatin County to Alexander County.

Eight years later, as the City of Brookport prepared its charette, a key recommendation from citizens was the development of a biking/pedestrian trail linking Brookport to Metropolis. Later that same year, the cities and IDNR partnered together to apply for transportation enhancement funds to develop that trail. Preliminary design and engineering funds were awarded in 2006 and design of Phase I was completed in September 2009.

At the time, GRCDT was visualized as a 9-mile long trail connecting Metropolis to Brookport through city streets — beginning at the Superman statue and utilizing back streets meandering a 3.6 mile-trek through Fort Massac State Park (FMSP) to Strawberry Road to end at Brookport Park.

The trail is named in honor of George Rogers Clark, whose statue in the park overlooks the Ohio River. During the Revolutionary War, in 1778-79, Col. Clark led a garrison of fewer than 350 men who prevented the British army from taking the northwest territory. 

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