Glen Ellyn Park District received a $10,000 grant from ComEd and Openlands to construct a handicap-accessible, crushed limestone, 140-foot trail connecting Ackerman Park in Glen Ellyn to the Great Western Trail.
In 2008, DuPage County identified an Ackerman Park access trail as part of their updated County Regional Bikeway Plan.
“Currently, there are no official entryways from the Great Western trail into the Ackerman Park,”Park Superintendent Dan Hopkins said. “Several foot paths have been worn over the years from the trail down a 15 foot embankment to access the park. These paths are hazardous for foot traffic, bikes and strollers due to the steep grade, loose rock and uneven surface.”
The Ackerman Park-Great Western Trail Connection will be created by constructing a permeable crushed limestone pathway from the bike trail, down the embankment, and along the turf area to connect with the existing asphalt roadway within the park. The Glen Ellyn Park District anticipates the work to be completed by summer 2014.
This is the first year of the Green Region program in Illinois, a joint effort by ComEd and Openlands to fund municipal conservation and environmental projects. The grant is among $125,000 in Green Region grants awarded to municipalities and nonprofits throughout northern Illinois.
The grants will be distributed by ComEd over the next two years. Openlands will monitor the 17 projects by developing applications, guidelines and a scorecard to track and measure the impact of each project.
“Green Region is a great opportunity for local governments, nonprofits and ComEd to work together in improving our environment and conserving open space ...,” said Jerry Adelmann, president and CEO of Openlands.
ComEd is dedicated to creating a more sustainable future, said Fidel Marquez, senior vide president of governmental and external affairs at ComEd.
“At ComEd, we’re always looking for innovative ways to better partner with the communities we serve," he said. "Supporting organizations that are doing great work to protect and preserve resources is a natural fit."
The Glen Ellyn Park District is the only entity in DuPage County that received a grant. Each grant applicant was eligible for a maximum of $10,000 per project. The other 16 inaugural Green Region grant recipients are:Cook County
- Village of Brookfield Open Space Plan: Will fund an update to the village’s open space plan and address key natural systems within Brookfield, such as Salt Creek.
- Enlace Chicago, 6062 Trees Community Garden and Outdoor Classroom: Design and installation of a rain garden and outdoor learning area within a community garden in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.
- Hillside, Illinois Prairie Path Landscape Enhancement Project: Capital and landscape improvements to the Illinois Prairie Path main stem segment passing through Hillside.
- Homewood, Izaak Walton Preserve Trail System Footbridge Replacement: Materials to build a replacement bridge at trail marker BR0.11 on the four-mile Izaak Walton Preserve Trail.
- Orland Park Nature Center: Site preparation, including prairie seed mix and the development of a master plan, for the Pebble Creek property and future nature center.
- Palos Heights, Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Gardens: This kick-off project will implement the master site plan for Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Gardens and its surrounding natural areas.
- Park Forest, Central Park Wetland – Three Year Ecosystem Enhancement Plan: Aims to restore the quality and habitat of the site through invasive weed control, mowing and prescribed burns, and water level management.
- Wilmette, Elmwood Dunes Preserve: Restore and protect the bluff and dune ecosystem at Elmwood Dunes Preserve by purchasing and planting native plants, trees and seeds, and installing educational signage.
- Genoa, Trail Project: Provide a gravel trail through parts of Genoa’s Prairie Corridor project allowing greater access to recreational opportunities and scenic natural areas in the Grand Prairie.
- Campton Township: Invasive Species Removal at Harley Woods
- Oswego, Paddle the Fox: Design and fabrication of five signs to identify the water trail as part of the “Paddle the Fox” project and placed along the Fox River at established canoe launch sites.
- Bull Valley, Still Farm Restoration: Restore five acres of a 52-acre former farmland site (now village-owned) into savanna and wetlands, including walking path and signage for the public’s education and enjoyment.
- McHenry County Conservation District, Trail of History Woodland Restoration: Will fund 1,500-2,000 local-genotype oak and hazelnut seedlings to restore a 160-acre tract of historic oak woodland in McHenry County.
- Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District, Skare Park Restoration: Targeted control of highly invasive herbaceous plant species.
- Mokena Public Works Department, Restoring and Revitalizing Mokena’s Crystal Creek Prairie: Improved land management and educational outreach activities at the 45-acre Prairie Park Preserve.
- Rockford Park District, Aldeen Park Dam Basin Restoration: Convert 4 acres of Aldeen Park to natural vegetation to promote flood management, water infiltration and ecological biodiversity.