Cyclists will soon be able to ride throughout the county and into the city without having to venture onto busy roads..

The Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) donated $225,000 to help the Essex Region Conservation Authority and the Essex Region Conservation Foundation complete a three-kilometre trail that connects the Chrysler Canada Greenway with trails on the Herb Gray Parkway and trails in the towns of Tecumseh and LaSalle.

The donation, part of the Rotary Club’s legacy projects, will finish a trail that will be called the Rotary (1918) Centennial Hub. The project includes a small park at Howard Avenue and Laurier Drive. 

Expected to be open by July, the trail cost $1 million to complete.

“This donation is the final piece that will get us to that million-dollar goal,” said ERCA general manager Richard Wyma. “We know that we can now finish the work we’ve already started because we have the financial pieces in place. The shovel is in the ground as we speak.”

Susan Stockwell Andrews, president of Essex Region Conservation Foundation, said it is exciting to see the completion of a vision which began in 1995 with the land for the Chrysler Canada Greenway. It has taken 20 years but the final three kilometres of trail is the final piece in connecting the city and county. 

“This contribution from Rotary truly turns the community’s vision of a region connected by trails into a reality,” Andrews said.

Wyma agreed.

“We’ve almost got 100 kilometres of greenway in the region and yet we weren’t connected to the city,” he said. “So this three-kilometre gap is probably the most important gap in our entire trail network.

“It’s one of the key pieces in the overall 17,000-kilometre TransCanada trail network,” Wyma added.

Lori Newton, executive director of Bike Friendly Windsor-Essex, applauded the donation and completion of the long-awaited trail. Newton said the No. 1 complaint from cyclists in Windsor and Essex County is the lack of connectivity.

“The most ubiquitous sign we have in the region is ‘Bike lane ends here,'” Newton said. “This is tremendously exciting news. To have cyclists to be able to cycle safely and seamlessly on a trail of some sort through the beautiful LaSalle trails right out to the Chrysler Greenway is exciting. It will make a huge difference for recreational and commuter cyclists.”

Rotary Club of Windsor (1918) will celebrate its 100th birthday next year and is undertaking several legacy projects to mark the occasion.

“In searching for legacy projects that would reflect our club’s 100-year commitment to service to this community, we are pleased to be able to partner with Essex Region Conservation to complete this amazing trail project, as well as to provide a meeting place for everyone at the Hub while enjoying their time on the trails,” said Janet Kelly, chairwoman of the Rotary (1918) Legacy Committee.