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Rock Island Co. Forest Preserve District receives $200k grant

A separate bike path would be created to provide additional safety for bikers and hikers. As well, a new public restroom would be added.
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 7:11 PM CDT
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HAMPTON, Ill. (KWQC) - The Illiniwek Forest Preserve’s main bike path and campground is set to undergo a major renovation to help increase safety for cyclists and the general public.

“We were very excited because the infrastructure improvements out here are much needed, and this is extremely helpful,” said Mike Peterson, an Illiniwek Forest Preserve park ranger.

Petersen said the $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to improve the Great River Trail will play a pivotal role in increasing the general public’s safety at the preserve.

“The Great River bike path is the main campground road that goes through Illiniwek, and on the weekends we are an extremely busy campground. We’ll have 300 or 400 people in here with the bikers and the campers, picnickers,” Petersen said. “We would like to make sure it is safer for the bikers and hikers that are using the bike path by creating a separate bike lane that is separate from the road.”

The bike path is going to be eight feet wide, and Petersen said they would consider widening the campground road as well by two feet.

“Not only is the campground busy, but the bike path is also extremely busy throughout this section. We get about 1200 people a week who use the river bike path through here,” Petersen said. “Making improvements to that bike path is going to improve the experience of the individuals who use the bike path.”

Off the banks of the Mississippi River, the Illiniwek Forest Preserve covers over 170 acres. The grant also covers additional enhancements.

“The current public restroom is 50 years old, so it is in need of being updated,” Petersen said. “Part of this grant is to build a new public restroom with some parking spots and make it ADA accessible. Next to the bathroom is going to be a bike maintenance station. Those are becoming pretty popular, and to my knowledge, there is not a station on this section of the bike path.”

Peterson said that if they do decide to keep the preserve open during construction, there will be traffic-control measures put in place. He also said the construction documents are still being gathered, but it’s likely that construction will begin next spring.

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