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updated: 2/14/2014 4:43 PM

Naperville seeks input on trails plan update

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Naperville Park District residents have one more opportunity to weigh in on walking and biking trails before officials update the document that tracks current trails and plans future additions.

Staff members displayed a final draft of a proposed update to the trails master plan before a park board meeting this week, and residents have until Feb. 28 to review the document online and submit comments or suggestions.

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The update to the trails master plan, first approved in 2008, calls for the park district to pursue construction of a new segment of the DuPage River Trail, along with smaller projects to add paths within parks.

The new DuPage River Trail segment would run from Knoch Knolls park south to the Bolingbrook border. Eric Shutes, director of planning, said the district is working on an agreement with the Will County Forest Preserve District to determine the trail layout and plan for construction possibly beginning in 2015.

The plan recommends the park district continue such partnerships with other governments to promote regional connectivity.

"When we hear there's interest in a certain trail connection, in a lot of cases it involves partnering with other agencies," Shutes said.

The proposed update also provides an inventory of the 72 miles of trails within the park district's boundaries and summarizes several of the major projects completed since 2008.

"Over the years, projects get completed and we want to capture all that," Shutes said. "It also talks about new trail linkages and projects we'll be working on."

Among completed projects, highlights are the construction of a milelong asphalt loop in Wildflower Park in 2008; completion of a segment of the DuPage River Trail from 87th Street to Knoch Knolls park in 2010; construction of nearly a mile of trails in Nike Sports Complex in 2011; and opening of the West Branch of the DuPage River Trail from Ogden Avenue through Wil-O-Way Commons park to McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in 2012.

Shutes said the update to the trails master plan has been in the works since August, when it was displayed at an open house the park district held about upcoming projects.

"We've been reaching out to the community all along in this process," Shutes said.

Since then, planning staff members have held focus groups with nearby government agencies such as the city of Naperville, the forest preserve districts of DuPage and Will counties and the Will County Highway Department. Residents can view the plan at napervilleparks.org and email comments to planner Aileen McEldowney at amceldowney@napervilleparks.org until Friday, Feb. 28.

The updated trails master plan is likely to come before the park board for a vote in March, Shutes said.

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