Mahomet seeks grant to pay for river access
MAHOMET — Village leaders are applying for a state grant that would fund construction of a canoe and kayak access point on the Sangamon River near Illinois 47 in Mahomet.
That grant would provide 100 percent of funds required for the project, up to $80,000. Plans drawn up with the help of Mahomet-based Phoenix Consulting Engineers call for a paved parking lot and a 5-foot-wide sidewalk leading down to the river.
Parks and Recreation Director Dan Waldinger said that the project would "create a great amenity for those who want to explore the river" and, at the same time, bring the Sangamon River Greenway into compliance with Illinois Department of Natural Resources requirements for handicapped accessibility.
Earlier this summer, IDNR informed Mahomet that it would have to make the Greenway — 32.66 acres of village land along the Sangamon — comply with ADA requirements or risk losing out on future state grants. Leaders said they were shocked, since the land purchase took place in 1994, and this was the first time anyone had been informed of the requirement.
Waldinger said he had spoken recently with IDNR officials, who indicated that creating the canoe access point at the existing trailhead on IL 47 south would bring the project up to standards.
The project as slated would cost $90,480, meaning that the village would have to pay about $10,000 over the amount of the grant.
Waldinger said that having some local funds in play will increase the village's likelihood of receiving the grant, but agreed to cut down on the size of the lot.
If the village fails to secure the grant, Waldinger said, staff will return to their original plan of paving the parking lot and about 750 feet of the Greenway trail in order to bring it up to compliance. That would likely cost the village between $10,000 and $20,000.