Champaign wants path on Marathon Oil easement

Champaign wants path on Marathon Oil easement

CHAMPAIGN – City officials want future subdivision developers whose projects take in the Marathon Oil pipeline easement to be required to build a multiuse trail on the easement.

The Champaign Plan Commission will consider the idea – a proposed amendment to the city's subdivision regulations – at its meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

The proposal would require any new subdivision that includes the easement to build a 10-foot-wide multiuse trail on it, and then give the easement and property to the Champaign Park District.

The Marathon Oil pipeline easement is 50 feet wide and runs the entire length of the city on the west side of Champaign, midway between Staley and Rising roads. The pipeline splits into two between Springfield and Kirby avenues, with one pipeline running north and south just west of Mullikin Drive. The other pipeline veers to the southwest.

Developers are prohibited from constructing any buildings on either easement because a high-pressure transmission gasoline pipeline runs under the ground. Since it can't be developed, city officials want to use the land for a multiuse trail – and they have the support of Marathon officials.

Assistant City Planning Director Rob Kowalski said the pipeline trail is on the verge of become a regional amenity. The park district plans on spending $565,000 next year to build 1 mile of trail between Kirby Avenue and Windsor Road on the north-south section of pipeline. Along the section that runs to the southwest, the developers of the Trails at Abbey Fields and Jacob's Landing subdivisions have agreed to build the trail through their subdivisions.

South of Kirby Avenue, Legends subdivision and Prairie Creek subdivision have also committed to building the trail and should complete construction within a year or so, Kowalski said.

"We've been partnering with the Champaign Park District on establishing a regional trail system," he said. "A multiuse trail in the pipeline easement gives us our best opportunity to create a regional trail system that links neighborhoods and offers a recreation opportunity."

Kowalski said subdivision developers have been agreeable up to now about building the trail through their subdivisions.

But with no city requirement that the trail be built, developers have been negotiating to reduce the number of required sidewalks in their subdivisions.

"Our city council has told us they don't like doing that and that we should be building the trail in addition to a complete sidewalk system," Kowalski said.

When completed, the pipeline trail will extend at least 5 miles, Kowalski said.

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