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CHENOA The city has heard it will receive a $300,000 federal grant for the planned Chenoa Route 66 Prairie Trail.

Christina Rogers, a representative from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin's Springfield office, announced funding for the proposed $765,000 project was included in U.S. Department of Transportation funding for fiscal 2006.

The city could begin construction in May on a trail network that would use an abandoned stretch of Old Route 66 4.73 miles of the former southbound lane and loop through town and out to Silliman Pond on the city's west side by Interstate 55.

"We're tickled to get it," said Mayor Walter Hetman. "We have a lot of kids who ride bikes and people who like to walk. This (grant) will allow us to have a path which will connect McDonald's and the manufactured home area to the rest of the city without crossing Route 24."

The grant represents about 40 percent of the budget for the project proposed by Commissioner Jayne Zeller and approved by the City Council in July.

"The grant takes us halfway to our goal and guarantees there will be a project," said Zeller. "It makes sure Phase I (incorporating the Route 66 section) will happen. Whether or not we get additional money thorough the grant process (through the Illinois Department of Transportation or Illinois Department of Natural Resources) will determine how much of the project we will have."

Zeller approached Durbin's office in June, and the City Council agreed to apply for grants in July. Although encouraged by the grant, Zeller hasn't seen the documentation that will show how much the city needs to match.

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