A plan to save money on the construction of the pending Longmeadow Parkway may also yield more winter recreational opportunities for Kane County residents.
The Longmeadow Parkway is still in the engineering phase, but planners already know there will be tons of excess soil created by the section of the roadway that will bisect the Brunner Family Forest Preserve.
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The preserve, located in unincorporated West Dundee, is bordered by the Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park. The facility is owned by the forest preserve district but leased to a private company. The district earns about $20,000 a year through the contract, not enough to fund the full upgrades the property needs now that it's more than 50 years old. That could change if the district can draw more people to the park.
The proposed plan to do that involves taking some of the excess soil created by the Longmeadow Parkway and using it to build at least one new hill at the facility. The hill could be used for sledding, tubing and other snow activities. Raging Buffalo would allow free access to the new hill in hopes of luring more customers to its paid business.
Because the soil for that project is already owned by the forest preserve district, and because Kane County Division of Transportation staff would engineer the hill and deliver it to the site, the project would have no cost to taxpayers. On the flip side, because KDOT would not have to pay to have the soil removed to a distant location, the costs to build the Longmeadow Parkway would drop.
"This is a good idea, particularly from the aspect that the county is working with the forest preserve and saving the county money and saving taxpayer dollars," said forest preserve district Commissioner Maggie Auger, who represents the area in which Raging Buffalo exists.
Forest preserve district staff members presented only a concept Thursday. The full forest preserve commission will vote on a detailed plan later in the process.