DuPage County Forest Preserve officials are hoping to convince Warrenville that a request for municipal water shouldn't be tied to the city's desire for new trails.
The forest preserve district is planning to construct a fleet maintenance building at Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville. The planned $7.6 million, 29,000-square-foot garage is slated to be built near McKee Marsh off Mack Road.
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But before construction can begin, the district needs to get water service to the area to meet fire protection requirements.
As a result, the district is seeking permission from Warrenville to install a water main extension that would run north along Williams Road, west along Mack Road and then go south to Forest View Drive. The district has agreed to pay the $1.5 million cost of doing the work.
Warrenville, however, wants the district to commit to doing several capital projects not related to the water main extension as part of a proposed intergovernmental agreement.
The city, for example, would like to see four new trails constructed, including a multiuse trail along Mack Road, from Route 59 to the McKee Marsh parking lot.
Ronald Mentzer, Warrenville's community development director, said the city raised the issue of the trails now because the district previously has provided "different levels of reaction" to the proposals.
"We got nothing substantive from them," Mentzer said. "We got nothing to let us know if we're going to be able to do these trails and what the district's role will be."
Since the district is coming to Warrenville asking for help, city officials thought it made sense to address the requests they've made to the district.
"We're interested in working with them on the water main," Mentzer said. "But we would like to get clarity on the forest preserve district's position on all these other issues."
Forest preserve staff members on Tuesday shared their opinion about several of Warrenville's requests. Commissioners next week are expected to vote on a formal response to the city.
District staff members say they don't agree with the Mack Road trail idea because of safety and visibility concerns.
They also expressed concern about Warrenville's suggestion that the district pay for a new "interpretive" trail along the west bank of the DuPage River's west branch, between the Illinois Prairie Path on the north and the Warren Grove Forest Preserve parking lot on the south.
Andrea Hoyt, the district's director of planning, said it would cost an estimated $930,000 to build the half-mile trail. District staff is recommending the city take the lead on the project and pursue grant money for the work.
The district has no objections to a planned multiuse path along the top of a berm along the east side of River Road. But since the project already is in the works, district staff members say there's no need to include it in the intergovernmental agreement for the water main.
Mentzer said it will be up to city council members to decide if they are willing to approve the water main project.
In the meantime, residents who opposed the district's decision to build the garage at Blackwell for its maintenance fleet have asked the city council to deny the request for water.
District officials have said the Blackwell site was chosen, in part, because the land has been used for similar purposes for about three decades and is centrally located.