GRAND BOULEVARD — The Bronzeville Trail Task Force has launched a fundraising campaign to cover operating expenses.
The all-volunteer group, which formed in 2020, has been using personal funds to pay for things like website maintenance, social media management and travel as they try to turn the South Side trail into reality. Board member Chris Devins decided to dedicate his June 2 birthday to the cause. So far, he’s raised $800 of his $2,000 goal.
Getting the Bronzeville Trail off the ground has been a labor of love for Devins, a city planner, and the rest of the team, most of whom have ties to the community. Their vision for the project involves converting the old Kenwood Line into a 2-mile walking and biking trail, which would be part of the 48 miles of connected trails planned by the city.
The team aims to complete the project in seven to eight years.
The group was awarded a $75,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust in April. Devins said the bulk of those funds went toward paying consultants and vendors to help plan and design the trail.
“We’ll be traveling to different cities to learn best practices. We’re planning a visit to Detroit to meet with the team behind the Joe Louis Greenway belts. But in addition to that, there are daily expenses, too,” said Devins, who will also oversee public art connected to the project.
The group is also gearing up for community engagement events scheduled for the end of the summer, including a ministers breakfast, a business luncheon and a special trip to the North Side to visit the Bloomingdale Trail’s 606 path in September.
The Bloomingdale Trail visit will be another learning opportunity for the task force members, who are looking to it for inspiration. The group will also work with Illinois Tech and Dawson Technical Institute to develop curriculum and other educational and workforce opportunities that could be tied to the trail.
Support for the project has been overwhelming, with scores of residents and community leaders coming out for the inaugural Celebrate the Trails Day April 23.
The task force hopes to have a design ready to share with the public in 2023.
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