East Peoria officials looking to expand the city’s trail system

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Discussions are picking up in East Peoria about expanding the city’s trail system.

East Peoria Director of Planning and Development, Ty Livingston said city officials, along with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, are studying the feasibility of the project.

The expansion would extend trails and paths for walking and biking along the riverfront from the Bob Michel to McCluggage Bridge.

Plans also include creating trails along the bridges, connecting East Peoria and Peoria’s riverfronts.

Livingston said updating and expanding the city’s trails is an economic development opportunity, potentially drawing more people to the area.

“Whether it be somebody that’s a visitor, they’re here for a weekend for a tournament at EastSide Centre or whether it’s people in the area that want to enjoy the amenities. We have a beautiful river valley that we need to provide more opportunities as communities to let people access and get around,” Livingston said.

He also said establishing a plan is one of the first steps to search for additional funding sources.

“Most funding sources now whether it’s the state or federal, they want to know that there’s a plan and opportunity for the public to weigh in and offer opportunities and suggestions, and so with this plan that’s part of the process,” Livingston said.

Goals include putting together proposals through the summer and fall, engaging various stakeholders including business owners as talks progress, Livingston said.

Later this year, plans are to give the public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the project.

Livingston also explained that ideas to expand the city’s trails and paths have been discussed in the past, but one challenge was getting various riverfront property owners on board.

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