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Article updated: 11/3/2011 5:49 PM

Kane County forest district buys more land

By James Fuller

Kane County forest preserves are approaching 20,000 acres in total land with the addition of the latest investments made with the proceeds of the $30 million tax increase voters approved last spring.

Forest preserve officials announced this week the purchase of two more land parcels. The first property is a nearly 94-acre tract on Russell Road in Plato Township that will expand the Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve to a total size of 467 acres. The land was previously owned by Dorothy L. Gurke, David L. Gurke and Barbara Markham. Forest preserve district officials bought the property for $1,168,000.

Forest Preserve Director of Natural Resources Drew Ullberg applauded the addition.

"It's great to have an expansion of Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve," Ullberg said in a written statement. "This is a preserve where we've done a lot of restoration work already, to reestablish the prairie and wetland. Adding to it will make for a greater habitat for wildlife."

District officials also closed on a nearly 163-acre property in St. Charles. The land, at 6N327 Route 25, was formerly known as the Swanson Farm until the Oliver Hoffman Corp. purchased it for development. That development never proceeded. Forest preserve district officials negotiated a purchase of the property for $3,073,748. The land will become a new forest preserve which has not yet been named.

All told, district staff have now made five purchases with the $30 million from the tax increase. The combined purchases amount to 675 acres at a cost of $12.2 million. The total land holdings of the forest preserve district is now 19,448 acres.

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