MORRISON – A community group dedicated to recreation is looking to raise money for a bicycle path that will run from the city limits to the sports complex east of town.
Residents and city officials have long wanted to find a way to install a path where bicyclists and pedestrians could ride or walk out to the sports complex along U.S. Route 30. The baseball fields now are accessible only by vehicle because of the danger of riding a bicycle on the busy highway.
Friends of the Parks Foundation in Morrison commissioned a study from Ride Illinois to develop a comprehensive plan not only for a path to the sports complex, but also in others areas of the city as well.
“The first one is the path from town to the sports complex,” the foundation’s Ann Slavin said.
The Ride Illinois plan was presented at the April 8 City Council meeting; the group will go to the council again Monday to seek support of the plan to boost the Friends of the Parks chances of securing grants to help pay for the path, estimated to cost about $262,000.
The plan for the path grew out of a 1995 survey asking residents what they want in terms of community improvements. Recreational path development was the highest-ranked item by a wide margin.
That survey led to the creation of the Friends of the Parks Foundation and eventually Phase I of the Morrison-Rockwood trail, built along Crosby from Norrish to Damen roads.
The group also has worked with the city to have on-road bike lanes striped within city limits and provided bike path connections between parks and schools.
The path to the sports complex is the next step of the plan, which includes ideas to improve what exists as well as areas to add trails. Because none of the recommendations are free, options for funding sources also were included in the plan.
“Our goal is to access funding for the new trail [to the sports complex],” Slavin said.
The Ride Illinois study identified four areas where trails could be added in and around Morrison and ranked them for priority. The first was the trail to the sports complex and the second would connect the city limits to the existing part of the Morrison-Rockwood trail.
The third-ranked proposed trail would connect Rockwood State Park to the northern edge of the Morrison-Rockwood trail. The last potential trail would be on the south end of the city from Waterworks Park in back of the fairgrounds to the high school.
The Morrison City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Whiteside County Board Room, 400 N. Cherry St.
The agenda will be posted at morrisonil.org and at City Hall; call 815-772-7657 for more information.