The Forest Preserve District of Will County will make improvements to Schneider’s Passage, a key trailhead for the overlapping Centennial and Veterans Memorial trails in Romeoville, this year.
The district’s board of commissioners approved a contract in November for expanded parking and the installation of a latrine at the heavily used site north of 135th Street and east of Route 53. The Village of Romeoville is contributing $26,500 for the $241,000 project as part of a previous annexation agreement with the district, according to a news release.
The total parking will expand from six to 30 spaces, and the latrine will replace a portable toilet at the site. The existing six parking spots will be repaved, and 24 spaces will be installed as parallel parking along the trailhead’s entrance road as it stretches east. A cul-de-sac will be added at the eastern end of the road so cars can turn around.
Construction will start once the ground thaws later this month or in early April. The parallel parking area will be closed during construction for several weeks. Alternate parking will be available at Isle a la Cache Museum.
The existing small paved parking area nearest 135th Street at Schneider’s Passage will remain open for most of the construction season. However, it too will be closed for several days while paving work is performed. A sidewalk will be added from the latrine to the trail, and a bench and landscaping will be installed at the trailhead.
Schneider’s Passage was dedicated in 2001, and it was named after Robert F. Schneider, who served on the Forest Preserve Board, the Romeoville Village Board and as the village clerk. When the passage opened, Centennial Trail was shorter so the parking was adequate.
“This access area had become much more popular for bicyclists and trail enthusiasts,” said Ralph Schultz, Forest Preserve of Will County chief operating officer.
The Centennial/Veterans Memorial trail also connects to the I&M Canal Trail, which leads south from 135th Street to the Joliet Iron Works Historic Site.