Groups commemorate bike trail connection at state line
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent November 8, 2013 1:24PM
Representatives of Lansing, Munster and other organizations celebrated the connection of the Pennsy Greenway path at the state line with a “Golden Spoke Celebration.” | Sue Ellen Ross~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 9, 2014 2:28AM
Officials from Lansing, Ill., the Lan-Oak Park District, and Munster joined recently for a “Golden Spoke Celebration” commemorating their partnership in connecting bike trails through their towns.
“We’re here today to commemorate the completion of the connection of the Pennsy Greenway bike trail at the Illinois/Indiana state line,” said John Wilson, director of parks and recreation for the Lan-Oak Park District. “This is a dream come true.”
More than 100 visitors gathered on the trail for the celebration, which took place behind the Lansing Sportsmen Club at the state line off southeast Wentworth Avenue. An archway marking this point will be fashioned and installed in the near future.
On the Illinois side, the trail was completed in 2008, and Munster completed its portion about six months ago.
The development of the bike trail was unique is many ways, the least not being that this trail crosses state lines — not done anywhere else in Indiana — and it is keeping the same name.
“I walk and bike many trails in the area,” said Jason Harris of Calumet City as he stepped off his bike to listen to the many local dignitaries talk about the Indiana-Illinois connection. “This is great — it’s wonderful to see two stages working together for us.”
Boy Scout Lucas Brunitti of Chicago also was in the audience. The 18-year-old’s Eagle Scout project was the design and development of a bike rack stationed at the state line.
Seven members of his family biked on the trail from Chicago for the dedication ceremony.
“This is pretty cool,” sister Sara Brunitti said about the new trail link. “And a very exciting day for Lucas.”
After the ceremony, officials from other Illinois cities said they were impressed with the Pennsy Greenway project, and that it was an inspiration.
Mike Leonard, superintendent of Parks and Recreation for Palos Heights, said his city currently also is working on a trail project, which is one of many in his state.
“We always say bike trails are about connection,” he added. “And this (Pennsy Greenway) is not only about connecting property, but connecting communities and their people as well.”
The Pennsy Greenway is open in three segments between Calumet City and Schererville.
On the Illinois side, the greenway will connect with the 450-mile Burnham Greenway/Grand Illinois system; and on the Indiana side will connect to the Erie-Lackawanna Trail and Veterans Memorial Trail at Crown Point, Ind. The route ties in with the cross-country American Discovery Trail.
Currently, it stops near the Munster-Schererville boundary.
There are about three gaps in Schererville, and when those are filled, eventually will link to Crown Point.
The recent Golden Spoke event marked the kickoff to the Mid America Trails & Greenways Conference at the Holiday Inn-Chicago Matteson Conference Center at the end of October.
Trail and greenway interests from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin attended the MATAG Conference, which focused on discussion of the creation, maintenance, promotion and general use of trails in each of their communities.