CHARLESTON — Major plans to connect Lake Charleston to nearby natural areas were announced about the same time as a major road resurfacing program at the lake was completed.
The past year’s developments concerning the lake were highlighted with the city of Charleston’s efforts to secure funding for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge that would cross Illinois Route 130.
In October, the Charleston City Council voted to support the application for the $2 million grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement program.
That funding would go with a $1.8 million contribution from the Lumpkin Family Foundation. The bridge and trail would start at the lake, cross underneath the highway and connect to Bypass Road and the areas of Warbler Ridge Conservation Area and Fox Ridge State Park.
Word on whether the state agency will award the grant to the city should come sometime during the first few months of 2021, city Planner Steve Pamperin said.
Meanwhile, resurfacing roads and related work at the lake’s main entrance were completed last month.
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That followed last year's completion of shoreline sidewalks near the lake entrance. The concrete barrier that was located between the entrance road and the shore was removed and replaced with the sidewalks.
The improvement plans for the lake also include upcoming installation of lighting and security equipment along with additional landscaping.
The city received a $267,000 grant from the Charleston Area Charitable Foundation to conduct the project.
Also, earlier this month the organization that owns Warbler Ridge announced it had acquired two new Charleston-area properties, one along Bypass Road directly across Route 130 from the lake.
The Grand Prairie Friends’ new property will be where the first section of pedestrian/bike trail will be located, helping connect the trail to Warbler Ridge.