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posted: 4/23/2012 6:05 PM

Carpentersville park to house bike trails

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  • This rendering outlines where the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers Association would build five miles of mountain biking tails in Keith Andres Park in Carpentersville.

      This rendering outlines where the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers Association would build five miles of mountain biking tails in Keith Andres Park in Carpentersville.
    Courtesy of the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers Assoc

  • The Chicago Area Mountain Bikers group has plans to build five miles of biking trails in Keith Andres Park in Carpentersville. Officials say it's an underused park that's known more for collecting trash and weeds.

       The Chicago Area Mountain Bikers group has plans to build five miles of biking trails in Keith Andres Park in Carpentersville. Officials say it's an underused park that's known more for collecting trash and weeds.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • In addition to five miles of biking trails for Keith Andres Park in Carpentersville, the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers would like to build a skills area, like the one shown here, for people new to mountain biking.

      In addition to five miles of biking trails for Keith Andres Park in Carpentersville, the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers would like to build a skills area, like the one shown here, for people new to mountain biking.
    Courtesy of Chicago Area Mountain Bikers

 
 

Carpentersville is about to get something that will give it bragging rights across the county: mountain biking trails that can be used for other purposes.

The Chicago Area Mountain Bikers group has approached the village about building a network of five miles of trails in Keith Andres Park, a park officials say is barely used and known more for collecting weeds.

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Last week, the village voted make the project a reality, but officials are still working on an agreement that would let the group do it, as well as handle liability and public safety issues.

The nonprofit group is composed of mountain bikers who are passionate about nature and cycling.

The project would cost $20,000 if the group uses volunteers. However, the group is thinking about hiring consultants to design and build the area, a move that would raise the price tag to $60,000, said Michael Angus, president of the organization's North Illinois chapter and treasurer of its main group.

Carpentersville won't be on the hook for any of the money.

The group has pledged to pay for the project and to maintain it after it's been completed.

At 26 acres, the park is the largest in the village and officials say the project would help it become an asset to the community.

"People from all over the region will come here to ride these trails," Village President Ed Ritter said.

While the association is in talks to build trails in Raceway Woods Forest Preserve, the Andres Park venture would mark the group's first in Kane County.

Jeff Provisor owns Main Street Bicycles in Carpentersville and is a member of the association.

He also is the one responsible for linking the association up with the village, a connection that started years ago. Although mountain bikes are part of his inventory, there aren't local options to ride them off road -- and that forces him to ride in Wisconsin.

The group has tried to do similar bike trail projects in Palatine and Barrington, but other people who use the parks, such as horseback riders, have protested them, forcing the association to go elsewhere, he said.

Provisor knew all about Andres Park and thought it would be perfect for the project. And he was pretty sure there would be no resistance to the plans from outside groups. "The exiting part is it would be a really nice feather in the cap for the village to have something like this," Provisor said.

When it comes to building the natural surface trail, the volunteer organization wouldn't bring materials in to create it.

Members would instead compact the soil along the path they'd create and use guidelines established by the International Mountain Biking Association to build the trails to limit erosion and runoff.

Another section of the park, called the skills area, would be reserved for those learning how to ride mountain bikes in natural terrain.

While the group would build the trail with mountain bikers in mind, it's still the same sort of trail anyone could hike, cross country ski or run on. Given the park's proximity to the Boys and Girls Club, Provisor would hope to plan activities that get those kids out to the park.

"It's for everybody," Provisor said of the trail. "I know when people hear mountain bikers are building the trail, they think it's just for mountain bikers and it's really not."

Officials hope to have a deal in place within the next three weeks.

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