Kane County will earmark $1 million to begin construction of the proposed cross country facility at the old Settler's Hill landfill in 2015. Officials are hoping to see some of that money paid back.
The cross country course is just one of several new public amenities envisioned for the dormant landfill. Kane County officials hoped to begin construction on the facility this year but were stymied by sluggish negotiations with the co-manager of the facility, Waste Management. With that obstacle cleared, Kane County Forest Preserve District officials announced last week that the design of the cross country track and plans to upgrade the existing golf course at the site have been brought into harmony.
Kane County Development Department staff members Wednesday unveiled a draft budget that contains $1 million for the cross country track and $300,000 to help with the golf course improvements.
County board members and forest preserve commissioner Mike Donahue said he believes the $1 million should be adequate, but he wants to take another look at the engineering plans before locking in that funding.
"I'm hopeful that's an adequate amount because the latest drawing is more efficient in terms of the earth work," Donahue said. "The cost could actually go down, theoretically."
There's two ways that could happen. One way would be for the forest preserve district to land some grant money to pay for a portion of the project. If that happened, the county would be reimbursed at an equal amount. The other way to save money would be for the county's proposed clean fill operation at the landfill to rake in even more cash than expected.
There's not enough dirt on the property currently to even out some of the slopes at the landfill to create the cross country course. The plan is to seek a permit with the Illinois EPA to have a temporary clean fill operation where contractors would pay to dump any extra clean soil and construction materials at the site. Right now, Donahue is just hoping the clean fill operation pays for the soil grading at the site.
Meanwhile, another major missing piece is a study to show the financial feasibility of the project. Kane County officials will have spent some $550,000 on the planning and engineering of the project by the end of 2014. A cost/benefit study has not yet occurred. Donahue says he expects that study might begin as soon as August.