Naperville Residents Consider Cow Tunnel Walkway

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An independent group of Naperville residents is hoping to reopen an 1860s cow tunnel for pedestrian access– but some nearby residents don’t want the tunnel in their backyards.

More than 50 people came out to a public meeting at the Municipal Center to share their opinions about the tunnel, located off Webster Street between Washington and Mill.

Those in favor of reopening the tunnel say it would create a safer alternative to move north and south of the BNSF railroad tracks without using the busy Washington Street sidewalk.

“I would hate to lose a child and have that be the impetus for, ‘oh let’s get the cow tunnel reopened,’” said neighborhood resident Bob Graham. “So I think what’s happening here today is really, really great, positive, I’m all for it.”

But others say they think opening the tunnel could create more safety issues in their neighborhood.

“This is all great and cheery and wonderful while the sun’s out, and everybody’s walking around with their dogs and their kids and their pets and all that,” said resident Franklyn Snow. “I get it, but what happens at night? I don’t want this in my backyard. Suppose they come through trashing it with beer cans and everything else?”

After hearing the concerns of many at the meeting, organizers say other spots for a walkway might have to be considered, but they have not discounted the cow tunnel for now.

They are hoping to find a place people on both sides of the track will accept. They plan to reach out to the developer chosen for the 5th Avenue development project for ideas.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.