Whiteside County Economic Development Administrator, Betty Steinert is happy to announce that the updated Whiteside County Greenways and Trails Plan and Map has been completed.  The process identifies the natural and man-made resources to link parks, nature preserves and cultural and historic sites with each other in the county.  “Showcasing the area’s natural resources is an investment into both the economy and the well-being of its residents,” stated Ms. Steinert.

The original plan was completed in 1999 with funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and in-kind matches within the county and was the first plan in the State of Illinois. Whiteside County, communities and park districts, along with many other organizations throughout Whiteside County created the original plan and worked together on the updated Greenways and Trails Plan. This was done by developing a priority schedule to implement portions of the plan including marking bike routes and installing bicycle safe storm sewer grates. When applying for grants for parks and bike/walk paths, this plan will be imperative to the park districts or communities being approved for the funding. IDNR is more likely to approve grant funds for those who are a part of a county-wide Greenways and Trails Plan. This plan is a blue print, or wish in some cases, in others the trails and parks are already in place and may need updating or expansion.

Since it had been more than eight years since the first plan was put in place it was felt that the county plan needed to be updated and kept as a working document. Ms Steinert approached the Whiteside County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee about requesting funding from IDNR for the update. “Last year we were approved for the funding and we got right to work,” stated Ms. Steinert. IDNR was very happy that we as a county group were willing to put the work into keeping the plan updated. Many other county plans are just now being completed for the first time.

With a lot of work, which is counted as in-kind match toward the funding, we are very proud to say the updated plan has been approved by IDNR and may be viewed at, the Whiteside County web-page, under Economic Development Documents. Ms. Steinert said, “This new format is so much more friendly for all to view than the first book we had with all of the communities having their own maps. The updated plan is all on two pages and can be easily downloaded and printed by anyone.”

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