Ground Broken for Phase 3 of TREC Trail System

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Published on August 29 2013 7:16 pm
Last Updated on August 29 2013 7:16 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

(PARTICIPATING IN THE GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY THURSDAY WERE {right to left}: MEMBERS OF THE JANE AND BILL HERMAN FAMILY WHO DONATED EASEMENTS FOR THE NEW PROJECT; RUSS SEHY OF THE EFFINGHAM PARK BOARD; REVEREND VAN BROOKS OF NEW HOPE CHURCH WHO OFFERED THE INVOCATION; BATTALION COMMANDER JOHNATHAN PAHOLKE OF SHUMWAY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT; EFFINGHAM COUNTY BOARD CHAIRMAN JIM NIEMANN; EFFINGHAM COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT NORMA LANSING; EFFINGHAM MAYOR MERV GILLENWATER; EFFINGHAM COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS KAREN LUCHTEFELD (WHO IS ALSO A TREC BOARD MEMBER) AND DOUG McCAIN; RUTH DEIBEL WHO WITH SON RICHARD AND DAUGHTER JULIA HAYES DONATED EASEMENTS FOR THE NEW PROJECT; AND TREC BOARD PRESIDENT FRANK BRUMMER WITH HIS GRANDSON WHO GOT A SHOVEL JUST THE RIGHT SIZE FOR THE CEREMONY)

Frank Brummer said it has been a dream for many years.

"It" is a trail that stretches from Effingham to Lake Sara, and it's just about to become a reality.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held over the noon hour Thursday to mark the start of construction work on Phase 3 of the TREC trail network.  The 10-foot-wide concrete trail will extend the existing trail to the Lake Sara area, and will connect the current portion of the trail ending on the Nazarene Church Road to Hilltop Estates and connect a portion of the trail west of Ryan's Crossing to Kingwood Estates.  The work should begin this fall with completion expected next summer.

The project will add about two miles of trail and will include two parking lots, one on each end of the new work, along with a trestle bridge that Brummer anticipates will become a landmark for the county.

A highlight of Thursday's ceremony was the announcement that the John and Fran Schultz Foundation is donating $100,000 to cover the remaining cost of the bridge, to be named in memory of the late couple.

Members of the Schultz family earlier contributed to the new project.  Jack and Bethina Schultz and Jane and Bill Herman dedicated easements, as did Ruth Deibel and her children Richard Deibel and Julia Hayes to serve as the route for the new trail.

Brummer thanked the many governmental units that have helped TREC get to this point.  Effingham Mayor Merv Gillenwater shared that while he hasn't always been supportive of financial efforts to support TREC, he uses and enjoys the trail network and hopes it continues to grow.  Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann reflected on his years as a child walking trails in the woods and credited the TREC trail for bringing some great memories to life.  Thanks were also given to the Effingham Park District for their ongoing maintenance of the trail and to the Shumway Fire Protection District that has acquired equipment to enable the department to provide emergency services along the trail.

The project cost for Phase 3 is estimated at $1,150,000, with 80% funded through a federal grant distributed through IDOT.  The 20% match needed for the grant to be collected is being raised through fundraisers and community activities.

Speaking of IDOT, Brummer was generous in his praise for the local office and the help of Gary Welton, Maureen Kastl and Eugene Beccue in particular on the project.

The mission of TREC is to develop a countywide, multi-use trail system.  The first phase of the ongoing project was completed in the fall of 2010, when TREC opened the Calico Trail on the west edge of Effingham.