Bicyclists, runners and walkers fond of using the Fox River Trail through Geneva will be sent on a detour most of the spring and summer.
And people who like to visit Island Park will have to find another pastoral perch, too.
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The park, and the portion of the trail running through it, will be closed when crews replace the north bridge in the park, located at State Street and Route 25.
Fences will be erected at the north and south entrances, according to Sheavoun Lambillotte, executive director of the Geneva Park District. Rentals of the park pavilion are suspended this year, and the summertime "Concerts in the Park" series will move to another, undetermined location.
But the district hopes to have the work finished in time for the annual Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival on Labor Day weekend.
The district is taking advantage of the park's closing to do some other work there. The concrete steps and patio around the pavilion will be replaced. And the playground equipment, which was due to be replaced in 2013, will be replaced this summer instead.
Bids on the bridge project are due Jan. 20. The Illinois Department of Transportation is handling that aspect because it oversees a federal grant of $729,000 for the project. The estimated cost is $1.04 million. When the work starts will depend on the weather, Lambillotte said.
The park district's civil engineering consultant will oversee construction. The design of the new bridge has already received approval from Geneva's Historic Preservation Commission.
The bridge was built in 1931 by the Wilson Bros. firm of Geneva. The Wilson brothers were known for studying with architect Frank Lloyd Wright. According to park district estimates, approximately 100,000 pedestrians and bicyclists travel over the bridge each year.
The bridge goes over a channel of the Fox River to a pond near the Mill Race Inn. The area is a popular spot for wedding and engagement photos.
Trail users will be directed to a wooden bridge at the south end that crosses the Fox River, then on to River Lane, then to State Street (Route 38). They can pick up the trail north of the State Street bridge.
The last major closure of Island Park happened in 2007, when the Fox River flooded the park after torrential storms, forcing it closed for almost four weeks.
For more information on the park closing and alternate rental locations, call (630) 232-4542.