The DuPage County Forest Preserve District is moving ahead with a roughly $16 million project that will increase stormwater storage, create new wetlands and improve the overall environmental quality of Oak Meadows Golf Preserve in Addison.
Commissioners this week agreed to commit funding for the project, which is scheduled to begin next summer.
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"Our entire reason for existence is natural resource management," Commissioner Shannon Burns said. "We have to do that wherever it's possible. And the fact that there's a golf operation attached (to this project) is just a bonus."
Oak Meadows, which was built in the 1920s, includes an 18-hole course, as well as a bordering 9-hole course called Maple Meadows East 9.
The 288-acre property has experienced increased flooding since 2007. It also lost its clubhouse in a 2009 fire.
Officials say the goal of the project is to make Oak Meadows a better preserve and improve the experience for the golfers who play there.
"The majority of this project gives us a chance to be leaders ... in ways that blend golf with enhancement of the natural resources on the property," said Ed Stevenson, the district's golf operations director.
As part of the work, the footprint for golf will be reduced. Maple Meadows East 9 will be eliminated so an additional 33 acres of floodwater storage and wetlands can be created.
The 18-hole course also will be redesigned to have improved flood resistance, multiple tee options and expanded practice areas, officials said.
Stevenson said the overhauled golf course will be minimally impacted by flooding. As a result, it won't have the same types of interruptions that have hampered the course's ability to generate revenue in the past.
The district will use existing accumulated interest earnings to pay for the $16 million project.
Officials estimate the district will recoup up to a third of the $16 million through grants and other third-party sources. Future profits from three golf courses also will be used to repay the district.
After the improvements to Oak Meadows are competed, forest preserve officials expect the golfing operation to generate significant revenue. The district's courses are projected to make a profit of more than $960,000 during 2017-18.