Illinois charitable groups and charitable people are figuring out how to make impactful contributions to their communities’ Triple Bottom Line through trail development. We see Quincy Rotary Club & Friends of the Trails, Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail, Push for the Path in Yorkville, and Effingham County’s TREC as models that will help Illinois communities hedge against a flawed state and federal approach to trail building.
How flawed? One current example: the Illinois Department of Transportation sent its award recommendations for the Illinois Transportation Enhancements Program—$50 million in federal money, with millions for trail projects!—to Governor Quinn in early October 2012 for approval to meet the agency’s own October awards announcement deadline.
That was three months ago. As costs go up, and towns and park districts remain in limbo about capital plans, as letting dates for construction slip…we’re still waiting.
We congratulate Quincy’s Rotary Club and Friends of the Trails on taking a local stake in the health and economic vitality of their community.
We Choose Health: Funding for Healthier Illinois Communities
The Illinois Department of Public Health has been working overtime to get this off the ground: We Choose Health, a $25 million, CDC-funded program to award grants to communities & public agencies ready to build a healthier Illinois.
All of the money is to be spent OUTSIDE the Chicago metro area—left out are Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Will County, and Lake County. And 35% of the money available MUST be spent in rural Illinois.
Counties, municipalities, park districts, other public agencies and non-profits can apply for up to $300,000/year for four years. For what kind of programs?
Nutrition, yes. Non-smoking programs, of course. But also: biking and walking programs and facilities, like Safe Routes to Schools, safer streets for walking and biking, and trails.
We believe that trails have a difference-making role to play in reversing an alarming slide downward in quality of life in Illinois. We celebrate that public health is encouraging walking and biking opportunities for all of Illinois!
Public health wants to turn your home into your trailhead!
Let us know if your community or agency is planning to apply for a grant. We’ll celebrate their desire to raise the quality of life in their community! If we can help, let us know: We’ve worked on CDC bike/walk grant programs like this before. Drop us a line.
Another link to the We Choose Health page