Through the dirt and leaves is a passageway running underneath the railroad. Known as a ‘cow tunnel’ the corridor is said to have been built in the 1860s so cows could graze on one side of the tracks and then go back to the barn on the other side.
According to locals, the tunnel was closed around 100 years later.
“In the 70s the mayor during that time thought there was “hanky panky” going on so he decided to board up the tunnel, but until then there was residents in this community and even on the south side, using the tunnel, riding their bikes back and forth,” said Susan Ahlfeld, one of the residents involved with the project.
Now a group of Naperville residents are hoping to reopen the tunnel, located off of what is now Webster Street between Washington and Mill.
“We thought ‘hey, we have this tunnel lets see if we could open it,’” said Ahlfeld. “Not just for how it is today, cause its still just the size for a cow to go through but lets go ahead and expand it bigger to make it a safer passage way so the community, we could have bikers, strollers, just make it more safe.”
The group is just beginning their quest, and is now seeking the community’s input at an upcoming open house.
Ahlfeld explains, “from there we’ll hear everyone’s thoughts and then move on to get an engineer to see what it’s going to cost to have the tunnel come through. And then how is it going to be funded. I know we have a lot of grants that we could write to, to have that explored, and take it from there.”
The open house will take place at 7 p.m. on August 23 at the Naperville Municipal Center.
It is currently not known how much reopening the tunnel would cost, and if it is even a possibility.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.
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