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updated: 2/28/2014 4:13 PM

Naperville, Will County planning trail connection

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Naperville Park District board members soon will review an agreement that could help one of the district's main trail initiatives move forward.

An agreement between the park district and the Will County Forest Preserve District about a new segment of the DuPage River Trail is set to be considered during the park board's next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, in the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.

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The new trail, called segment 5, would connect the DuPage River Trail from Knoch Knolls park to the 95th Street bridge into Bolingbrook, said Eric Shutes, director of planning.

The Will County forest preserve is leading the push toward construction of the roughly .75-mile path, which is expected to begin next year and wrap up in 2016.

But because the path will run through two Naperville parks -- Knoch Knolls and Rivercrest Estates -- the park district can contribute to the path's design and must contribute toward its cost, Shutes said.

The forest preserve has received a federal grant to cover much of the path's price tag and will be contributing $280,000 of its own funding. The park district's share stands at $115,000.

Shutes said $52,000 of that funding will go toward increasing the thickness of the asphalt to four inches from the two and a half inches originally planned.

Park district staff said the additional thickness increases the path's durability and allows emergency vehicles such as fire trucks to travel on it if necessary.

Park board Commissioner Kirsten Young asked if the path would travel through some of the heavily wooded areas of Knoch Knolls and whether construction will require removing trees.

"A lot of this is open grassland so we're not looking to disturb the woodlands," Shutes said.

Some invasive trees will be cut down, but planners laying out the trail avoided all large groves, he said.

When complete, the trail will include educational signs about nearby natural areas.

Building segment 5 of the DuPage River Trail is one of the main elements of an update to the park district's Trails Master Plan, which is set to come before the park board at a later meeting.

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