QUINCY -- Avenue of Lights donated $100,000 to the Friends of the Trail on Thursday to assist in the expansion of the Bill Klingner Trail.
Avenue of Lights, which ceased operations three years ago, is dispersing its remaining funds and wanted to acknowledge the Quincy Park District's contribution to the organization's cause.
"If former (Quincy Park District Executive) Director John Hecker had not been receptive to the idea of having a drive-thru Christmas park in Moorman and Wavering parks, none of this would have been possible," said John Groves, Avenue of Lights volunteer. "We've had great rapport with Quincy Park District. It's only fitting, as we begin to wind down Avenue of Lights, that we remember Quincy Park District in our gifting."
Avenue of Lights operated in Moorman and Wavering parks for 15 years before shutting down in 2015. In the memo section of the check presented to Friends of the Trail, Avenue of Lights wrote "Christmas in July."
Mike Klingner, chairman of the Friends of the Trail's Fund Drive Committee, said the donation was entirely unexpected.
"This will go to the next segment, which will be from 24th to 30th Street, which we've just now started thinking about kicking off and setting a goal for," Klingner said. "It's so nice to get a gift when you weren't expecting it."
The next phase of the Bill Klingner Trail expansion will begin in September. That segment will run from 18th Street to 24th Street. Klingner said that portion should be completed by the end of 2019.
"People are recognizing the importance of walking and biking trails, and we're seeing this kind of support to make it happen," he said. "We couldn't do this without the community."
Klingner expects the work on the trail from 24th Street to 30th Street to begin in 2020. The goal of the trail is to eventually run from the river to 36th Street without crossing any city streets.