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updated: 6/20/2012 5:15 AM

Mountain bike trails hit another bump in Carpentersville

Board delays decision to sort out legal language

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  • Wayne Bastiaans and Ruth Little are upset that Carpentersville officials may allow mountain bike trails at Keith Andres Park, which borders their backyards. They each maintain several yards of city property that borders their own. Little has several gardens on the property.

       Wayne Bastiaans and Ruth Little are upset that Carpentersville officials may allow mountain bike trails at Keith Andres Park, which borders their backyards. They each maintain several yards of city property that borders their own. Little has several gardens on the property.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Wayne Bastiaans and Ruth Little don't want a Chicago based mountain biking group to build trails in Carpentersville, and they aren't the only ones. Twenty-two residents in the surrounding neighborhood have signed a petition that opposes the plan.

       Wayne Bastiaans and Ruth Little don't want a Chicago based mountain biking group to build trails in Carpentersville, and they aren't the only ones. Twenty-two residents in the surrounding neighborhood have signed a petition that opposes the plan.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

A proposal to let a Chicago-based mountain biking group build trails inside Carpentersville's largest park has generated a bit of debate between village trustees, the group that would create the trails, and the neighbors who say they don't want them in their backyards.

The village board was scheduled to make a decision on the agreement Tuesday night but did not, due to legal language within the contract that still needs to be resolved.

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Chicago Area Mountain Bikers wants to use its volunteers to put in and maintain natural trails in Keith Andres Park, as well as a training area for beginners.

The group, made up of 485 mountain biking lovers, initially proposed 5 miles of trail, but now says between 3 and 5 miles is best to avoid tripping over each other and being close to people's properties.

"We will put in the right amount of mileage for this area in order to make it successful," said Mike Angus, president of the group's north chapter.

As another concession, CAMBr has offered to move one of the trails that was slated for a residential area. Angus also predicts that the trail will attract locals, rather than drawing large crowds -- serious mountain bikers will head to trails in Wisconsin, he said.

The trails would be open to walkers, runners, mountain bikers, bird watchers and others.

CAMBr would use its own money to build and maintain the trails and work with the village to clean up the park and remove invasive trees that are choking off native plants.

If the project becomes a reality, police would step up patrols in the park to make sure gang and drug activities there cease.

Several trustees see the proposal as a way to revitalize the park, turn it into a destination and make it a point of pride in the village. The park is now known as a dumping group where illegal activities take place.

"We have a hidden gem ... Keith Andres Park," Village President Ed Ritter said. "If you go down there and look at it, it has the potential to be one of the nicest parks anywhere. But it isn't. We have to make some steps to make that happen."

But 22 people who live near the park say otherwise and have signed a petition against the plan.

They fear the trails would bring increased traffic to their area, chase the wildlife out of the park and present challenges when it comes to disposing human waste and garbage -- Angus said volunteers will clean the park and that they can install a portable toilet.

Resident Wayne Bastiaans also says officials should take more time to think the proposal through.

"To jump into a situation where you're trying to sugarcoat this thing and turn it into a Walt Disney movie, is beyond my expectations," he said.

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