After two years, a popular hiking trail has reopened in Centerville-Washington Park District’s (CWPD) Grant Park. We closed the yellow trail, a one-mile natural path, in 2018 after stream bank erosion made conditions unsafe for park visitors. Grant Park has two main entrances, one on Normandy Ridge Road and the other on McEwen Road. The McEwen Road entrance is home to the Kennard Nature Nook, the Mark Kreusch Nature Playce and the McEwen Barn. The yellow trail is the only route connecting the Kennard Nature Nook area to the rest of the 189-acre nature park. Without a trail reconstruction, the park would have evolved into two smaller nature parks. After considering several alternatives, we began reconstruction of the trail in fall 2019. The project entailed re-grading the hillside, constructing a gabion rock wall to control erosion, and repositioning the trail. A $215K park improvement, the project was a major undertaking for CWPD.
CWPD Planning and Project Manager Nick Meyer said, “During the closure, it was clear how well-loved this particular trail is within our local community. It was a big project and it was important that we get it right. We are proud of the results and are excited to open a safer trail for our visitors.”
The trail reopened to visitors just before the Fourth of July weekend. There is still clean-up work to do and it will take time for the vegetation to grow around the construction site. Nine hundred new trees were planted and the prairie behind the Kennard Nature Nook on McEwen Road was re-seeded with native wildflowers and grasses.
This is just the beginning of Grant Park improvements. We are creating a master plan that will determine future improvements to the park. We welcome public input in the planning process.
Grant Park features a nature playground, nature literature trail, fire circles, creek and several miles of natural hiking trails.