DECATUR — The Decatur Park District is moving ahead with the long-awaited extension that will take the Stevens Creek bike trail north to Forsyth.
The park district's board on Wednesday approved both an increase in design costs and an agreement with Forsyth engineering firm Chastain and Associates to handle the design duties for the next phase of the work.
The project, first devised in the late 1990s, has aimed to create a network of trails that run through Mount Zion, Forsyth and Decatur. The trails currently connect Rock Springs Conservation Area and Fairview Park, with an extension running from Fariview to Greendell Park.
When completed, the next phase will pass under Interstate 72 to connect Cresthaven Park with Timber Lane in Forsyth.
The latest phase of the project will cost a total of $2.2 million, with the park district paying 20 percent. The rest will be covered by the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, a state program that gives out federal funds to projects that support alternative modes of transportation.
Mary Cave, an associate with Chastain, said Wednesday's approval allowed for about $81,000 to be taken from the project's construction budget and added to its design budget.
Cave said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources must also review the project to ensure that it won't infringe on hydraulic flood plains in the area.
She said Chastain will put the project out to bid after receiving approval from that department and the Illinois Department of Transportation, which oversees the ITEP program and maintains Interstate 72.
"We'd bid it over the winter so that we can get the contractor going when the weather breaks," Cave said.