On Thursday of last week, the mayor’s office revealed that $20 million in federal grant funding has been awarded to support the completion of the Englewood Nature Trail. Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the announcement in partnership with U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and U.S. Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL-07).
This grant was issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) by way of the Rebuilding America Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary program which is meant to help communities finance projects centered around infrastructure and transportation that will have a “significant local or regional impact.”
The City allocated $6 million in phase one design funding toward the proposed trail project earlier this spring. The scope of the trail project involves the conversion of an unused railroad corridor in Englewood into a 1.75-mile multi-use path. This trail is meant to be added as one of Chicago’s existing 79-mile trail networks. Englewood is a largely residential neighborhood with a history of commercial uses on arterial streets. The abandoned rail system has been out of use since the 1960s when businesses along the corridor closed or relocated. The City acquired the corridor of land in 2018 from its most recent owner, the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Funding from the RAISE grant will support the design and construction of the trail, which is currently planned to run east-west along an elevated berm, and will cross 26 viaducts. At this time the trail has a planned ending on the east near Wallace Street and on the west near Hoyne Avenue. There will be nine entrances for community members to safely access the trail.
According to the press release, the City plans to leverage both federal and local funding sources to support the completion of the project.