Covering the Land of Lincoln

City seeking millions in state grants for transportation projects

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Rockford Public Works Director Kyle Saunders says the city has been re-envisioning the Riverfront Path in downtown Rockford, for well over a decade.

“We’re seeing more and more people choose bikes, scooters or walking,” said Saunders. “Multi-use paths, lighting, to really kind of connect bicyclists and pedestrians to the river.”

Under the plan, anyone will be able to get from Whitman Street to the Rails and Trails Bridge by grabbing your handlebars, or using your feet.

Saunders says phase 2 of this river walk plan, perfectly aligns with a separate proposal to improve pedestrian and bike paths along Highcrest Rd.

“It connects the paths along Rock Valley College, kind of through the middle ground to the river and those assets out west,” said Saunders. “It’s not just about cars anymore.”

The hope is to create several walking and cycle connections from east to west of the city, and Saunders says his department just got one step closer, to bringing these goals to life.

“This grant has a maximum amount of three million dollars, which will pay for up to 80% of project costs,” said Alderperson Janessa Wilkins.

Members of the Planning and Development Committee gave the go-ahead, to apply for two grants from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. Saunders believes some of those $3 million dollar grants could go towards both projects.

“They both are very strong on their own, but when you look how they compliment our current infrastructure,” said Saunders. “I think it puts our community in a really good spot.”

Next week, full council will vote on whether to move forward with applying and accepting these state grants.

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