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updated: 4/21/2014 3:02 PM

DuPage forest preserve district developing strategic plan

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  • Daily Herald file photoResidents who want to share their thoughts about the DuPage County Forest Preserve District but don't have Internet access can pick up printed copies of a new public opinion survey at the district's headquarters, 3S580 Naperville Road, Wheaton.

      Daily Herald file photoResidents who want to share their thoughts about the DuPage County Forest Preserve District but don't have Internet access can pick up printed copies of a new public opinion survey at the district's headquarters, 3S580 Naperville Road, Wheaton.

 
 

DuPage County Forest Preserve District officials are seeking public feedback on a range of issues for a document that will help guide their decision-making in the future.

Facilities, programs and restoration projects are among the topics that will be covered by the strategic plan, which is being created to help the district establish its direction for the next three to five years.

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Forest preserve commissioners already have shared their opinions during a recent meeting. Now it's the public's turn.

Last week, an online public opinion survey was posted at dupageforest.org/survey. The anonymous survey is available until May 16.

The forest preserve district also is hosting six community meetings to listen to what residents have to say. The first meeting is planned for 7 to 9 p.m. April 30 at Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.

"We're reaching out because we believe this should be driven by the community," said Sue Olafson, forest preserve spokeswoman. "They (residents) have stake in this organization. We want their input."

Olafson said the district has never done a strategic plan before. And while the district has established goals and mission statements in the past, those efforts have been internally directed.

"This is asking much more broader-scope questions that get at the heart of what we should be doing for the future," she said of the strategic planning process.

For example, the strategic plan will help officials decide whether the forest preserve district should acquire more property or be focused on maintaining the roughly 25,000 acres of land it already owns.

So far, more than 350 people have responded to the online survey, according to Olafson.

Anyone who would like paper surveys can request copies with postage-paid return envelopes by calling (630) 933-TREE. The printed surveys must be returned by May 5.

Printed surveys and drop boxes also are available at the following locations: district headquarters in Wheaton, Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook, Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, Green Meadows Golf Course in Westmont, Maple Meadows Golf Course in Addison, and Oak Meadows Golf Course in Addison.

The other meetings will be:

• 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 1 at Indian Prairie Public Library, 401 Plainfield Road, Darien.

• 7 to 9 p.m. May 6 at Wheaton City Hall, 303 W. Wesley St., Wheaton.

• 7 to 9 p.m. May 7 at Addison Village Hall, 1 Friendship Plaza, Addison.

• 7 to 9 p.m. May 8 at Oak Brook Village Hall, 1200 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook.

• 7 to 9 p.m. May 14 at West Chicago City Hall, 475 Main St., West Chicago.

Once the survey results are tabulated and the public meetings are done, a final version of the strategic plan will be drafted. The hope is to have the document finished by the end of June, officials said.

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