Plans for a new trail into the north side of Meacham Grove Forest Preserve are in jeopardy because of construction hurdles, including an unanswered question about whether residents in a neighboring Roselle subdivision support the project.
The DuPage County Forest Preserve District was awarded a $450,000 state grant to build the trail to connect a limestone path in Meacham Grove to Foster Avenue, which is located north of the preserve.
But the district hasn't formally received the money because officials still are trying finalize the plans.
For starters, none of the homeowners along Foster want to sell their property to make room for the proposed trail. One homeowner is willing to sell only part of his land.
Roselle officials also have notified the district that they don't have the staff time to work on the project.
Village Administrator Jeffrey O'Dell wrote in a May 1 letter that Roselle doesn't object to the district using the $450,000 in grant money for another project.
This week, district staff members recommended the grant money be redirected to help pay for a planned pedestrian bridge over County Farm Road near Hanover Park. That $3.1 million structure would link trails in the Mallard Lake and Hawk Hollow preserves.
Forest preserve commissioners, however, decided to take more time examining the feasibility of the proposed Meacham Grove trail connection. The decision to take another look at the project came at the request of former state Sen. Carole Pankau, who was instrumental in getting the grant money in the first place.
"I still think this is a valuable project for the Roselle area and would honestly like to see the money used here," Pankau said.
While Roselle officials can't take the lead on the project, they aren't opposed to it and would be willing to offer assistance, Pankau said. The village, for example, could play host to a public hearing to get feedback from neighbors.
Commissioners said they would like to know if residents living along Foster are worried about the possibility of people parking vehicles along their street to use the trail.
In the meantime, the forest preserve district is running out of time to spend the money.
"We don't want the money to be lost," said Andrea Hoyt, director of planning. "If the board does not want to pursue this trail, I want to redirect it (the grant money) toward another project."
When it comes to the pedestrian bridge at County Farm, the forest preserve has received a $500,000 state grant and a $500,000 grant from the county to help pay for it. Right now, the remaining cost of the bridge is expected to come out of the district's reserves.