By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The second stage of the Cedar Creek Trail is one major step closer to reality, thanks to the Quincy Rotary Club.
Rotary officials presented a $108,000 check to the Friends of the Trails non-profit organization, which is seeking to raise $500,000 for the project before the end of 2014. If successful, the Quincy Park District will match the funds through the use of general obligation or alternate bonds.
The presentation was made during a Tuesday luncheon at the Holiday Inn.
The second phase of the trail -- to be built between Fifth and 12th streets -- has been in limbo for more than two years because of the lack of state and federal grants. The first phase of the project opened in the summer of 2009, a mile-long stretch between 12th and 18th streets.
The Rotary check pushed the Friends of the Trails' total to roughly $353,000 in donations and pledges. Quincy Medical Group Foundation and Blessing Foundation are the other major contributors to date, each pledging $100,000 to the project.
The Rotary Club's involvement also kickstarts a celebration.
"The Quincy Rotary Club will celebrate 100 years in 2015, and this is the kickoff to that centennial celebration," said Larry Shepherd, president of the Rotary Foundation and a vice president at First Bankers Trust. "Rotary has been a part of a lot of projects involving the community's infrastructure -- Indian Mounds Pool, park pavilions -- and we want to work with the Friends of the Trails on this project."
Shepherd presented the $108,000 check to Cullan Duke, Ted Niemann and Ed Seger. Duke is the chairman of the board for the Friends of the Trails, Niemann is president of the Quincy Parks Foundation and Seger is executive director of the Quincy Park District.
"Right now, the Park District's goal is to maintain what we have, but Cedar Creek Trail is one of those projects that needs to move forward," Seger said. "The public's response to Cedar Creek Trail has been tremendous. People are always using it."
The Friends of the Trails is having the Quincy Parks Foundation Inc. act as its fiscal sponsor. The Friends of the Trails is able to use the foundation's tax-exempt status to collect donations. As a result, money donated to the project can be used as a tax deduction by people or groups that donate.
According to the Quincy Greenways and Trails Plan developed in 1999, when the Cedar Creek Trail project is completed it will stretch from Bonansinga Drive near the Mississippi River to 36th Street.
The idea of the Cedar Creek Trail stretches even deeper into the city's history. The concept of such a trail can be traced as far back as the city's 1946 comprehensive plan.