The east woods of Fabyan Forest Preserve stayed in, but one of two mountain biking trails is out of the concept plan for developing a recreational complex on the site of former landfills in Geneva.
The Fabyan Property Utilization subcommittee approved the plan Wednesday. It will be presented to the Kane County Board's Development Committee at 9 a.m. Tuesday. If that committee approves the plan, it would then go to the Kane County Forest Preserve Commission's Planning and Utilization Committee.
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The subcommittee removed the mountain biking trail on the Midway Landfill portion of the plan. Fans of the woods argued the trail was too near to the woods and that the bicyclists would be tempted to continue using unauthorized trails already cut through the woods. Forest preserve staff also worry that a trail from that site to another mountain biking site planned to the northeast would be dangerous to riders since it would cut through a golf course.
But the plan still includes at least two multiuse trails through the woods, connecting the proposed complex to Route 25 and the Fox River Trail.
"You ought to be able to ride your bike from the Fox River Trail to any point in this plan," subcommittee chairman Mike Donahue said.
Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns said he disagreed with critics' previous characterizations of mountain bikers as "thugs."
"The folks who enjoy mountain biking are also our citizens," Burns said.
" ... These are good people who enjoy a sport that most of us don't."
The committee also disagreed with residents who have asked for the woods to be removed from the plan entirely.
Committee member Phil Lewis said that doesn't make sense.
"This needs to be a unified site from a planning and management standpoint," Lewis said. "The reality is the Fabyan woods is adjacent to the golf course, which is adjacent to the Kane County landfill, which is adjacent to the Kane County Cougars stadium, which is adjacent to the (Fox Valley) Strikers facility, which is adjacent to the (forest preserve-owned) ice rink, which is adjacent to the (former) jail."
The subcommittee recommended the forest preserve district form a volunteers' restoration and stewardship group for the Fabyan woods, and that the group be assigned to figure out where to put the access trails so they do the least damage to the woods.
"I'm very happy that you took that 'little finger' (what the mountain biking area was called) off the plan," said Martha Hanna of Batavia.
The county owns the jail site and one of the landfills. The forest preserve district owns the other landfill, the Fox Valley Ice Arena, the Fabyan preserve and the Kane County Events Center, where the Cougars' stadium is located.