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Rockford Park District approves ‘Silent Sports Trails’ project

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – The Rockford Park District of Commissioners, on Tuesday, approved construction of the Atwood Silent Sports Trials.

The fully funded multi-use trail is being made possible in part by citizens, organizations and a grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

In 2015, a group of local citizens and “silent sports” enthusiasts approached the Rockford Park District to share their vision for the development of non-motorized recreational opportunities at Atwood Park, 7074 Rydberg Road, Rockford. A silent sports facility would include activities such as mountain biking, hiking, trail running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife observation, and fat biking, to name a few.

In total, $464,000 was needed for Phase 1 of the Atwood Silent Sports Trails project, which includes 4.5 miles of natural surface, multi-purpose trails, a 24-space asphalt parking lot, and water service with bike wash station.

The board approved a construction contract with Terra Firma Trails, LLC, a trail builder subcontractor for N-TRAK Group, LLC. Immediately following the meeting, supporters gathered to celebrate the fundraising goal achieved and share more about Phase 1.

“This moment has been three years in the making, and was only possible thanks to a very dedicated and hard-working group of volunteers, some who served on a Silent Sports advisory committee, and others who organized fundraisers or advocated for the project,” Atwood Park Manager Becky Lambert said. “All of these stakeholders have such passion for this project, and realize the economic impact, as it will provide citizens and visitors alike diverse recreation opportunities that are unique to the region.”

A grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) was also received for $200,000.

By utilizing private donations and grant money for Phase 1, the District is minimizing reliance upon tax dollars. Construction for the water service and bike wash station will likely start before the end of the yea, and the majority of construction will take place next year.

Atwood Silent Sports Trails Phase 1 is expected to be completed in summer 2019. R.

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