McLean County in Illinois extends Route 66 Bike Trail

The board of McLean County, Illinois, this week voted to extend the Route 66 Bike Trail another 3.25 miles from Shirley, Illinois, to the hamlet of Funks Grove.

The current trail runs from Towanda, Illinois, through the Bloomington-Normal metro area to Shirley. The new extension will bring its total length to nearly 19 miles.

According to a report from the Bloomington Pantagraph:

“Expanding our trails helps connect our rural communities to our urban areas, which helps grow Route 66 tourism and encourage trail-oriented development,” wrote board member Carlo Robustelli on Facebook. “Great news.”
State funding will cover $160,000 of engineering. The remaining $40,000 will be split among municipalities on the trail, including $16,000 from the city of Bloomington, $12,000 from the town of Normal and $10,000 from the county.

Work is expected to begin by fall, with the trail operational by 2019.

Funks Grove is a historic unincorporated town just a few hundred feet west of old Route 66. It boasts the Sugar Grove Nature Center and a few historic buildings in the village.

But it’s best-known for Funks Grove Maple Sirup, one of the oldest businesses in the state, where pure maple sirup is distilled each winter from the historic stand of maple trees.

Plans are to also extend the trail from Towanda to Lexington, Illinois, but no funding for that is available yet.

Long-term plans are for a 370-mile Illinois Route 66 Bike Trail from Chicago to the Missouri state line near St. Louis.

More about the existing Route 66 Bike Trail in Illinois may be found here.

(Image of the old railway station at Funks Grove, Illinois, near Route 66 by K2D2vaca via Flickr)

2 thoughts on “McLean County in Illinois extends Route 66 Bike Trail

  1. The trail you are talking about will be longer than the one we have here in Mn. You people in Ill. can do as you want but an Idea got rails to trails if this is a railroad bed. Rails to trails could help with the project through the Transportation funding bill. It is being done all over the

  2. We do rails-to-trails here, as well. This particular trail is not on an old railroad bed. The route 66 corridor has an active railroad which runs along side. The new trail runs on state R. O. W., so the state helps to fund it.

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