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updated: 6/16/2011 3:46 PM

Itasca mulls new boardwalk at nature center

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  • Itasca officials are considering whether to replace the boardwalk at Spring Brook Nature Center with a floating design that would allow for more stormwater retention.

       Itasca officials are considering whether to replace the boardwalk at Spring Brook Nature Center with a floating design that would allow for more stormwater retention.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • Itasca officials may use $108,000 in hotel tax revenues, which can only be used to promote tourism, to replace the Spring Brook Nature Center boardwalk. Visitors like Rob Kueking of Addison, and his dog Bentley, often stroll in the area.

       Itasca officials may use $108,000 in hotel tax revenues, which can only be used to promote tourism, to replace the Spring Brook Nature Center boardwalk. Visitors like Rob Kueking of Addison, and his dog Bentley, often stroll in the area.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 

Itasca officials are debating whether to spend $108,000 to replace the boardwalk near Spring Brook Nature Center.

The 720-foot boardwalk stretches across wetlands and a marsh area, and workers have made as-needed repairs in sections for many years.

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But Village Administrator Evan Teich said staff conducted research and discovered a company based in Clinton, Wis., that offers a newer system that can prevent weather damage and allow for more water retention.

"The boards float on a system so, when water goes underneath, it pushes the boardwalk up and it doesn't warp," Teich said. "This is ideal because this is an area where we want stormwater to go, since it reduces flooding. In the future, we would want that property to take on more water."

Trustees are debating whether to replace the whole boardwalk at once, or if it's possible to replace in sections over time. This week they also asked if the project is necessary, since the boardwalk is accessible during dry weather, but many agreed a change will be necessary.

"The boardwalk is integral to the path system of the nature center," Teich said. "Elimination would create dead-end trails during rainy times of the year."

Trustees directed staff to collect references from Custom Manufacturing, Inc., which would build the new boardwalk. They also are seeking feedback from Schaumburg, which had a boardwalk built by that company.

Funding for the project would come from Itasca's hotel tax revenues, which can only be used to promote tourism due to state statute. Teich said the nature center and Itasca Riverwalk that leads to it both draw visitors from other communities.

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