GODFREY - The Village of Godfrey marked the beginning of the construction of the F.E. Widman Trail.

Phase One of construction has officially started after planning and design began in 2019. During a groundbreaking ceremony on March 4, 2024, Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick explained that the new paved walking/biking path will connect LaVista Park to Glazebrook Park.

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“We’re set to go on Phase One. I think it’s going to make Godfrey a better place,” McCormick said. “It’s the future. You go to other communities, they have bike paths. So finally Godfrey can have a bike path.”

The F.E. Widman Trail will make it easier for people to travel from Stamper Lane to Godfrey’s Sam M. Vadalabene Bike Trail on the Great River Road, linking the parks to the MCT Trails system in the region. McCormick noted that it will be possible to travel from Lewis and Clark Community College to SIUE on the trails once the F.E. Widman Trail is complete.

The mayor said they ran into “quite a few roadblocks” from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) throughout the planning and design process of this project. He thanked Village Engineer Richard Beran for his work to address these issues.

In January, the Village’s project consultant, Juneau Associates Inc., received direction on tree removal/mitigation after waiting for a Natural Resources Review for nearly three years, according to previous reports from RiverBender.com. This allowed Godfrey to move forward with accepting construction bids for the project. The project’s primary contractor is Stutz Excavating, Inc.

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The final project is estimated to cost around $1,225,960.55. Approximately 46% of this funding will come from grants from the Metro East Park and Recreation District, Madison County Transit Trails System, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Madison County Park Enhancement Program.

McCormick added that IDOT’s maintenance of the Sam M. Vadalabene Bike Trail has been “a major pet peeve” of his since he became mayor, and he hopes State Representative Amy Elik will help the Village put pressure on IDOT to maintain both the Sam M. Vadalabene Bike Trail and the F.E. Widman Trail once it is completed.

McCormick thanked many people within the Village of Godfrey, including the Board of Trustees, the Parks and Recreation Board and board member Mark Lorch. He also noted the involvement of the Widman family and their help to complete the F.E. Widman Trail project.

“A great deal of work from a great many people has gone into realizing this dream,” McCormick said. “Combining elements of exercise, nature, and simple convenience, this will be a remarkable feature for everyone to utilize and will bring people to the beautiful community of Godfrey to enjoy for years to come.”

For more information about the Village of Godfrey and their recreation opportunities, check out their official website at VisitGodfrey.com.

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