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Kennedy Road shared-use path pedals forward with Yorkville, ComEd agreement

The Yorkville City Council approved a recreational lease agreement Tuesday with ComEd allowing for plans for a shared-use path along Kennedy Road to pedal forward.

In a 5-2 vote, alderman Seaver Tarulis and Carlo Colosimo stood in opposition to the project.

City Administrator Bart Olson said the path will bring great importance connecting Yorkville to Oswego and the rest of the Chicagoland trail region.

“The ComEd lease agreement is for a portion of the their property immediately north of the railroad tracks in the Grande Reserve subdivision,” he said. “It’s the last piece of land acquisition that we need for the project.”

The 2.72-mile project will utilize Kennedy Road as it heads onto ComEd property.

Under the terms of the agreement, ComEd will provide Yorkville with a 20-year lease at a cost of $1 through a one-time base rent payment. The city is also responsible for maintenance services and utilities, real estate taxes and alterations to the property, the pact states.

Olson said the city received state grant funding to start building the shared-use path.

In March, the council discussed the prospect of receiving Transportation Alternative Program assistance. At that time, the city approved an intergovernmental agreement with Kendall County for the acceptance of $35,000. Those TAP funds will account for costs related to Route 47 trail and sidewalk construction.

After that meeting, the Kendall County Highway Committee determined that additional funding was available, providing for a $50,000 grant. Council action in June led to the formation of an intergovernmental agreement between Yorkville and Kendall County to accept TAP funding.

Funding for the $1.7 million project is coming in, Olson said, noting the efforts of the nonprofit organization, Push for the Path, to cover the remaining 20 percent of the majority state-funded project’s cost.

“The private funding has matched what they said would [contribute], so that’s promising,” he said.

Olson noted the way the path could potentially help spur economic development not only in the Chicagoland region but in downtown Yorkville, as well.

“People that commute if you were in Aurora or something, you’d be able to get on your bike and go there,” he said. “It’s a big quality of life improvement, probably more than like an economic development thing, but that could then turn into economic development.”

Olson added that it’s tough to quantify, but the ability that someone would be able to travel from Wisconsin to the suburbs of Chicago could serve as a possibility.

“The Route 47 trail runs all the way from where Kennedy Trail meets now all the way down to the south end of town so that goes right through the downtown,” he said. “People on both ends of town would be able to go into the downtown on their bike, which is huge for families and stuff, the ice cream shops and a couple other things that are down there.”

Tarulis noted that a number of residents living in the ward he serves were in opposition to the project, and said that played a part in how he voted.

“My concern is we’re going to have bike path there and we need to look at speed limits,” he said.

Tarulis emphasized that officials must look at implementation of the city’s priorities, having an understanding of the small and big picture in mind.

Once the project goes out to bid to a contractor later this year, city officials said the construction of the shared-use path is likely slated to get underway in 2017.

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