Joy in Palos as Cal-Sag Trail ribbon is cut

 

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Photo by Tim Hadac

Emblematic of the successful struggle to piece together a grassroots coalition of ordinary citizens, business leaders, government officials, conservationists, bicycling and fitness enthusiasts and others to bring the Cal-Sag Trail from concept to completion over the last decade, four of the first Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail connect halves of the new trail’s logo. Trails for Illinois Executive Director Steve Buchtel (from left), Gayle Greenwald, Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Director Mike Leonard and William Poore, of Palos Heights, gather at Saturday’s ribbon-cutting on the trail at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights (above).

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Photo by John Hanley

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, shown chatting before the program began (right), was among federal, state and local dignitaries who spoke at the official opening of the bicycle trail that runs between Alsip and Lemont.

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Photo by Tim Hadac

Success has many fathers (and mothers), as more than a dozen government officials, Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and others squeeze forward and cut the ribbon on the western leg of the new Cal-Sag Trail Saturday morning at Lake Katherine in Palos Heights. It runs between Lemont and Cicero Avenue in Alsip. From there, the uncompleted eastern stretch will run to Burnham, almost the Indiana border.l

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Photo by John Hanley

Palos Heights Mayor Bob Straz greets U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Mayor Straz drew a few laughs and a lot of applause when he asked, “Who would have thought that this many government agencies could cooperate and get this thing done?” On hand were local, county, state and federal officials.

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Photo by Tim Hadac

Bringing half of the Cal-Sag Trail logo in from the east are U.S. Rep Dan Lipinski and his wife, Judy, both avid runners and cyclists. Lipinski drew applause from many when he said that trails are more than recreation and are “transportation that connects communities and people to work and anywhere they want to go.”

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Members of the Palos Park Pedalers cross a bridge into history on Saturday, as they carry half of the Cal-Sag Trail logo east toward Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, where it would be linked with the logo’s other half, which was carried west from Alsip to celebrate the opening of the new trail’s western leg.

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Palos Park Pedalers President Don Finan (left) checks the chains on a bicycle owned by Orland Park resident Dave Babiarz as part of a free bike tune-up service offered Saturday morning along the Cal-Sag Trail at 86th Avenue. Founded five years ago to promote bicycle safety and advocate for more and better bike paths, the Pedalers are currently about 25 strong, ranging in age from children to senior citizens.

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Palos Park resident Laura Wells (right), known to many in the village for her longtime portrayal of Mrs. Santa Claus every Christmas, shares a smile with Theresa Tevsh, assistant recreation and parks director. Wells has been waiting for the trail for 30 years, ever since she moved into the Edelweiss in the Park residential development and heard a homebuilder insist that the trail would be built soon.

 

 

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