Saturday was a long time coming for family and friends of the late Darlene McCue who have been working tirelessly to create a lasting legacy in the woman’s memory.
Their mission came to life on a rainy, windy weekend at Bristol Ridge Road and Route 47 in Yorkville where they met to dedicate a multi-use bike path that many believe would have saved McCue’s life.
McCue, and her daughter were out for a bike ride along Kennedy Road in 2009 when they were struck by a passing vehicle.
McCue, 46, was killed and her daughter was seriously injured. Since that day, residents of the city of Yorkville vowed to come together to create a 2.7 mile bike path along the road to make sure bikers, walkers and joggers could safely traverse the narrow, dangerous road.
“A lot of people here, including myself, have been waiting a very, very long time for this day,” said Yorkville Mayor Gary Golinski. He was surrounded by nearly 100 people who gathered Saturday to officially unveil the new path, and perform a ribbon cutting ceremony at a beautifully installed archway bearing McCue’s name.
“This truly creates a ‘Yorkville path’,” Golinski said. “For years, we had a hodge podge of paths that weren’t connected,”
Now, there are 12 miles of connected paths throughout the city.
Kids have a safe way to navigate Yorkville neighborhoods and visit friends without dealing with the hassle of busy roadways, he said.
The initiative was a community effort.
McCue family friend Lynn Dubajic put together the Push-for-the-Path non-profit organization in 2012 to raise funds to cover a $350,000 deficit needed to construct the $1.4 million pathway. The city of Yorkville received a grant to create the path, but would have to come up with 20-percent of the funds itself. That’s where residents and community members stepped up to help.
“It really truly shows the great things that can happen when you put together a private/public partnership,” Golinski said.
The path connects with Grande Reserve and Autumn Creek neighborhoods, Oswego’s Mill Road trail near Orchard Road, several public parks and playgrounds, the Yorkville Rec Center, downtown Yorkville, Riverfront Park, Town Square Park and 39 miles of the Fox River Trail.
Kelly McCue, who is Darlene McCue’s niece, was on hand Saturday to witness the path’s dedication. She said it was a special day, and a time to reflect on her aunt’s life and the ways this path will change the lives of residents throughout Yorkville.
“Yorkville’s so big and there’s so many kids, it’s nice that they can get places now,” she said. “It wasn’t safe at all before.”
—- After years of planning, Yorkville bike, walking trail opens —-