SCHERERVILLE — Cyclists rejoice. After years of planning, the gaps along the Pennsy Greenway Trail from Calumet City, Illinois, to Schererville soon will be closed, opening opportunities for longer, smoother rides.
The Schererville Parks Department will host a ground breaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Plum Creek Park to kick off Phase Two and Three of the Pennsy Greenway Trail project.
The town will partner with Lake County Parks to complete this section of the larger Pennsy trail system, which ultimately will connect Crown Point, Schererville, Munster and Lansing. The trail should be ready for use by this fall with the finishing touches being added for completition next May.
Free hot dogs, pedometers and regional trail maps will be handed out to event attendees. Parks officials and engineers will be available to address any questions related to the trail system.
“It’s all about closing the gap,” said John Novacich, superintendent of Schererville Parks and Recreation.
“This (extension) is huge. Currently what we have is very limited as far as how much you want to ride. A lot of users are looping around and going back. This will open up community and connection one end to another.”
As outlined in Phase Two, the trail will be extended by from Joliet Street to Main Street in Munster. Phase Three connects 1.7 miles from Rohrman Park to Clark Road in Schererville.
The Pennsy Greenway Trail, a part of the cross-country American Discovery Trail, was one of three Region recreation trail projects to recently earn funding through the state's new Next Level Trails Program.
The $2.9-million grant will help fund Phase Three.
“To be the only one selected in the county, we are really fortunate and excited,” Novacich said.
In a previous Times report, Schererville Town Manager Bob Volkmann said having the trail pass through the downtown corridor and providing connectivity between local neighborhoods will bring a “big boom” to the developing area.
“It’s like building an identity from scratch. We want our downtown to be have more destination-type development with more professional offices,” Volkmann said. “We want people to come here specifically and not just drive by.”
The last segment of the trail into Crown Point is in planning stages, Novacich said. It will include a new trailhead with parking at Plum Creek Park and a larger trailhead plaza by the 9/11 Memorial near the Schererville Police Department.
“We are going from a 2-mile, closed segment to connecting into a 13-mile system by the time it’s all completed,” Novacich said.