By Marney Simon | Enterprise Staff
Plans to expand options for folks looking to take a walk, jog, or bike ride along the riverfront in Plainfield are under serious consideration, as a partnership is now being explored between the village and the park district to add on to the area’s most quaint nature hot spots.
On April 10, members of the Village Board took a first look at a collaborative plan to construct a regional trail extension from the downtown and riverfront area, out to the Springbank subdivision nestled inside Drauden and Renwick roads.
Village staff has been coordinating with the developer of the subdivision and the Plainfield Park District, mapping out possible trail improvements into a concept plan. Improvements would be constructed by the Springbank developer, and maintained by the park district, with trails connected into village-owned trails in the downtown district.
According to the staff report, the potential trail project could provide an excellent recreational amenity, adding connections to Plainfield’s downtown and extend access to parks, the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation, and downtown shops and restaurants.
“The proposed trail alignment will extend south, initially beginning on the village owned property. The proposal will be to construct a path on an easement granted to the Plainfield Park District, and as it extends farther south, there will be a crossing underneath the Canadian National Railway to provide a connection to a few existing trail segments within Mather Woods to take advantage of those. And it provides regional interconnectivity, and then as we extend farther south, there would be an at-grade crossing at the Renwick Road bridge.”
Proulx said part of the village’s role would be to provide an easement for construction on village-owned property. The village would also be in charge of applying for permits with the ICC for work related to the railroad crossings. The project would require an intergovernmental agreement between the village and the Plainfield Park District.
Board members had some questions as they glanced at the proposal for the first time, including questions on lighting, designs, and total costs, but overall were excited about the idea of adding more areas for connecting parts of the village for walkers and bike-riders.
“This is really an important project for us,” said Trustee Margie Bonuchi. “We are developing the riverfront property. The work that’s gone into this, between the Riverfront Board… and working with the village, working with the Park District, working with Springbank, this is just really going to be a boon for the riverfront development, this is going to be a boon for the people in the southern part of the town, even in unincorporated areas, to find their ways to the riverfront properties, into the rest of downtown Plainfield, and the overall project is wonderful.”
Village staff said the idea of extending trails is indeed a popular one around town as well.
“It’s been a widely-supported idea, so we’re excited to bring it forth,” Proulx said. “It started as an idea, and it’s advanced fairly far in the planning stages to tee it up and be in position to at this point be realistic and be ready for implementation pending all the stakeholders authorization and support.”
Staff will present the project in more detail at upcoming meetings. Representatives from each of the stakeholders involved will be available for questions and discussions.