New trail planned for St. James Farm near Warrenville

Updated 11/5/2018 2:38 PM

A new multiuse trail to provide northern access to St. James Farm Forest Preserve near Warrenville is expected to be built by 2020, thanks to a federal grant.

DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners on Tuesday are scheduled to vote to accept $200,000 from the federal government's Recreational Trails Program, which provides up to 80 percent reimbursement to grant recipients for the cost of the trail projects.


The grant money will allow the forest preserve district to pursue an estimated $300,000 project to construct the .6-mile trail along the south side of Mack Road, from Winfield Road east to an existing service driveway.

The new trail will connect to an existing path along Winfield and to a future trail through Cantigny Park.

It also will link to a soon-to-be completed trail through McCormick Woods on the northwest side of the preserve. That .8-mile trail is expected to be finished by the end of the month.

"This is something we have been thinking about for a while," said forest preserve President Joe Cantore, adding that the trail along Mack was identified in the master plan for St. James Farm in 2010.

"The point is to provide connections between St. James and other recreational amenities, like Cantigny," he said.

In 2012, the district was unsuccessful it getting grant money. Commissioners authorized staff members to try again last year.

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Last month, state officials announced the forest preserve and 10 other agencies were recipients of the RTP grants. The grants are administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Initially, the district will have to pay the entire cost of the project, officials said. It then will be reimbursed $200,000.

Officials said the plan is to have district staff members design the project in 2019 with construction to begin in spring 2020 and be completed that summer.

New trails are just some of the upgrades planned for St. James Farm.

The district is seeking a state grant to help pay for the restoration of a picnic pavilion. Officials also want to construct a picnic area and parking lot on the north side of the roughly 600-acre property.

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