Forest district looks to open new recreation areas, expand programming
Updated: July 29, 2012 6:22AM
Cleanup work along the DuPage River, expanded programming at St. James Farm and the opening of a new recreation area at Blackwell Forest Preserve are in the works from the DuPage Forest Preserve District.
The district has announced a listed of proposed initiatives for the next 12 months. The list includes:
Completion of the “Observe Your Preserve” online project, which will offer interactive field guides for forest preserves and a place for the public to share their outdoor experiences.
Continued support for summer camps and learning opportunities for at-risk youth in DuPage.
Expansion of programming and infrastructure at St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, including trail improvements, municipal waterline connections, and the completion of a main entrance at Winfield Road and a new paved parking lot.
Completion of remediation and restoration work along 8.5 miles of the West Branch of the DuPage River, a cooperative effort that has taken 15 years.
Opening of a new archery and recreation complex at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, funded by a grant from the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program and featuring three archery ranges, a picnic shelter, a fishing pier and a paved trail.
Continued development of an online program-registration and permit-sales system.
Implementation of a computerized facilities-management system for more efficient tracking of maintenance work performed in the forest preserves.
Completion of a master plan for Oak Meadows Golf Course in Addison, which will focus on the sustainability of golf amenities, development of a new clubhouse, improved stormwater-management capabilities and potential integration with adjacent trail systems.
Expansion of performing-arts programming and partnerships at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, including a new series of concerts for children.
Construction of new limestone-surfaced trails at the off-leash dog areas at Blackwell and Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville to improve safety and accessibility.
Opening of the new Urban Stream Research Center at Blackwell, which was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that will support aquatic ecology research.
Participation in a pilot study of a treatment to eradicate zebra mussels in open water at Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett.
Initiation of design and construction of trails, a parking lot and a 5-acre picnic area at Dunham Forest Preserve in Wayne.
Initiation of habitat restoration work at a rare fen at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett.
Forest Preserve District President D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr. said the projects fit within the district’s budget. The Forest Board recently approved its budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1. The total fiscal-year operating budget of $41,948,369 is a decrease of $190,763, or 0.45 percent, from the 2011-12 operating budget.
Property taxes collected in 2012 will fund the 2012-13 budget. The board approved the tax levy in November 2011 at a rate of 6.68 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation.
Pierotti said the district wants to continue “to build new facilities and provide more ways for people to get out and enjoy the open spaces that enhance the quality of life in DuPage County.”