Metropolitan Planning Council recently awarded Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and the Cal-Sag Coalition the 2017 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning for the work done to connect communities in south Cook County.
The Cal-Sag Trail was first envisioned in 2004, and currently offers more than 13 miles of multi-use paved trail. Once complete, the trail will offer more than 26 miles of paved trail and connect 14 communities and more than 185,000 people.
“The Cal-Sag Trail is the result of more than 10 partner groups working together for over 10 years to create an amenity for the entire Chicago Southland. The Forest Preserves is privileged to be a partner from the start and we are truly grateful to MPC for recognizing the vision and planning of this remarkable coalition,” said Chris Slattery, Director of Planning & Development for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Coalition partners include the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Village of Palos Park, City of Palos Heights, Alsip Park District, City of Blue Island, Village of Riverdale, Village of Dolton, Dolton Park District, Calumet City and the Village of Burnham.
The Cal-Sag Trail project aligns with the Forest Preserves’ goals of better connecting the residents of Cook County to preserves by increasing transportation options, creating links between preserves themselves, improving residents’ health through the use of natural spaces, and improving the region’s economic vitality.
The western section of the Cal-Sag Trail allows south suburban residents to hop on the trail and access some flagship Forest Preserves attractions, including Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, the Swallow Cliff Stairs and the Centennial Trail & John Husar I&M Canal Trail, as well as the City of Palos Heights’ Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Garden.
The project is funded by the International Technical Assistance Program (ITAP) and Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program. For more information on the project, visit Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail’s website.