Community members apply for grants to make 30-mile bike path in Chillicothe a reality

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CHILLICOTHE, Ill. (WMBD) — A group in Chillicothe is working to bring the community together through more than 30 miles of bike trails.

“There’s nothing, nothing like it today in Chillicothe,” said Jeff Admire, the chairman of the bike trail task force.

It’s the vision for the Chillicothe bike trail. Admire said bike trails are good for health and quality of life, home value, and the local economy.

“It really is an investment into the economic development of the overall region and wellbeing,” said Admire.

He said the task force has spent the last year working on the eight-route plan.

“It’s expensive, right so, over 30 miles, somewhere between $7 and 8 million for the entirety of it,” said Admire.

To make the vision a reality, leaders said it’ll take time and money.

“Phasing is the way it’s going to have to go,” said City of Chillicothe Economic Development Director Amanda Beadles.

On Friday, task force leaders applied for grants for five of the routes through the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“This grant is very huge. The grant pays 80 percent in some areas, and in some areas 90 percent, and could potentially pay 100 percent,” said Beadles.

The potential of the path is exciting for residents.

“It just connects the whole town through some lovely scenery and it’s just great, utilizing space that’s already here,” said Molly Crusen Bishop, chamber facilitator for the Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce.

She thinks it’ll draw more people to explore the area.

“Any kind of commerce, and kind of people coming through our town to see how lovely it is and how lovely and warm the people are here, that’s just a win-win,” said Crusen Bishop.

Bike trail leaders said they’ll find out if they’ve been awarded grants this spring. They also said they plan to apply for other grant programs too.

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