A last-minute letter from the DuPage County Division of Environmental Concerns caused Naperville Park District to delay approval of a contract for the remainder of lead removal and site improvements at Sportsman's Park.
The park board was set to vote Wednesday night on a $2.9 million contract with Environmental Contractors Inc., of Loves Park near Rockford, to remove lead from a 17-acre area inside the park's eastern fence line, create accessible shooting stations and install trails to make the site near downtown Naperville safe and more useful to the public.
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But Executive Director Ray McGury said the park district received a letter Wednesday afternoon from the DuPage County Division of Environmental Concerns that raised a few issues -- which he called "nothing earth-shattering" -- about the district's plans to remediate and improve the property.
McGury asked commissioners to delay a vote on the contract for two weeks so staff members can meet with the county and get the issues ironed out.
The county's Division of Environmental Concerns regulates wetlands, and the Sportsman's Park site, at 735 S. West St., contains two ponds.
The pending contract with Environmental Contractors Inc. constitutes Phase 2 of a project that began last fall to remove lead-contaminated soil from the shooting ranges at the park.
For decades, sport shooters used lead pellets until they were banned in 1998, and environmental testing in 2012 determined contaminants remain in the soil.
The park district is participating in an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency program to clean up the soil and is seeking a letter that states no further remediation is necessary.
Once that letter is received, park district officials say the shooting ranges, paths and ponds can open to recreational use for sport shooting, fishing and walking or jogging.
Along with soil remediation, the pending contract includes construction of trails, creation of accessible shooting stations and new lighting for the trap ranges.
A new parking lot will be built with pervious concrete and an asphalt access drive will replace the gravel road leading back to the clubhouse.
Work is expected to begin this spring and be largely complete by the end of the year, McGury said.
The $2.9 million the park district is likely to spend on the second phase of Sportsman's Park work adds to $490,457 spent on the first phase of cleanup last fall, $28,150 spent on tree removal within the eastern fence line and more than $800,000 put toward environmental testing and engineering services.
Offsetting some of the costs is $262,000 the park district will receive from the city during the next four years through the Special Events and Cultural Amenities fund, which is supported by food and beverage tax revenue.