Constitution Trail is a multi-use trail made possible by a joint venture with the City of Bloomington and the Town of Normal. The initial idea for the trail was proposed by Hugh Atwood, an alderman on the Bloomington City Council, in the early 1980’s. He had seen bike trails in other cities and thought this would be a wonderful amenity for Bloomington-Normal. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad line was abandoned at around this same time, which provided an appropriate pathway for a trail.
Although some members of the community had apprehensions, the railroad tracks were removed, and the first part of the trail was laid. Initially, the trail covered 4.3 miles. The Trail was officially dedicated and named “Constitution Trail” in celebration of the 200th birthday of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1987; the Trail grand opening was May 6, 1989. The community responded positively, and this led to the gradual expansion of the trail, which now covers over 24 miles.
In 2009, The Friends of the Constitution Trail, under the expertise of Professor Robert Bradley of Illinois State University, funded six signs which were installed along the trail. These signs honor and describe key portions of the Constitution and how they apply to our daily lives. We hope these signs are used by all trail users to educate and remember this foundation of our liberties.
The sign locations are:
- The Preamble – Rosa Parks Commons
- The Bill of Rights – Connie Link Amphitheatre
- Article One – Tipton Park
- Article Two – West Route 9 Wayside
- Article Three – Keith Rich Memorial near Rollingbrook Park
- Article Five – Atwood Wayside
Because of the popularity of the Trail, the Cities have developed trail plans for future development. These long-range plans call for extensions to connect places of employment, commerce, schools, parks, and historic interest.
A short documentary with more information was published in 2016 on youtube.