SCHERERVILLE — Connectivity has been a goal for Schererville for more than a decade, said Town Manager Bob Volkmann.
Since the 1990s, the town has been working on its Pennsy Greenway Northwest Trail project, which is set to wrap up in the coming year, he said.
While joggers and bike riders have been using the trail, it cannot officially open until the Canadian National (CN) railroad crossing at 213th Street and Eagle Ridge Drive is complete, Volkmann said.
"They're going to tear the whole crossing out and replace all the rail," he said.
The new pedestrian crossing won't be put in until the spring, he said.
"The trail is not officially open, but I see people on it every day. The diehards that are out running and jogging in 20-degree weather," Volkmann said.
A ribbon cutting for the trail will be held after CN finishes its portion on the construction. That ceremony will be sometime in May or in the first part of June, he said.
The grand opening is dependent on the railroad completing its portion of the project, he added.
Volkmann said there are a few "small items" to be done on the trail, including finishing up fencing. However, those final touches should be complete before CN comes in to work.
The fourth phase of the project is underway, Volkmann said. The trails project received $2.9 million in funding from the state's Next Level Trails program. The fourth phase is the final phase for Schererville, Volkmann said, and will extend the existing Pennsy Greenway Northwest Trail by 2.33 miles southeast along a former rail corridor from Rohrman Park to Clark Road.
The town still has to acquire some pieces of property before the project breaks ground, he said.
Schererville is partnering with Lake County Parks to complete the phase, which is a section of the larger Pennsy Trail System. The system aims to connect Schererville, Crown Point and Munster to Lansing, Illinois.
The project also will include a trailhead along Clark Road.
The trail will stretch to Crown Point's border.
"It will be a catalyst for Crown Point to move forward and pick up the trail and continue it," Volkmann said.
Schererville Councilman Kevin Connelly said he hopes the trail will create more foot traffic in the town's downtown, adding the project wasn't started to revitalize the downtown area, rather to connect towns and cities across the county.
"I think the trail will create some new traffic. Some people perhaps have never seen downtown Schererville before," Connelly said.
"There might be one or two people who might be intrigued to maybe open up some sort of small boutique shop in our downtown area."