Kane County Forest Preserve District officials will proceed, with some trepidation, on construction of a $1.79 million building in the Mill Creek Greenway. They're concerned because they got only one bid for the work despite soliciting 71 contractors.
The district also announced it will pursue about 150 acres of new land.
The Natural Resources Facility at the corner of Route 38 and Brundige Road near Geneva will contain 6,800 square feet for equipment storage and repair, and have office space.
District officials approved plans for the building several years ago. The plans never moved forward because two rounds of bidding resulted in costs that were not within the $2.2 million budget.
That changed in the third round of bidding when Marengo-based Carmichael Construction Inc. submitted a bid.
"I still don't like the fact we only had one bid on the project," commissioner T.R. Smith said Friday. "The problem is we don't know where that figure falls. Would that be a very high bid or a low bid?"
District staff members said Carmichael's proposal did fall within the engineering estimates for the project. Any delay in trying to get more bids would set the timeline on the project back two to three months. The staff also said contractors might be reluctant to bid on the project at this point if the district had rejected their previous bids.
Commissioner Drew Frasz said he finds assurance in the fact that Carmichael is a company the district has used in the past, and the bid is within the budget for the project.
"We've got a project that's been delayed for many years," Frasz said. "I'm in favor of moving forward."
The project will include a geothermal field in keeping with the district's green mission. The full commission will take a final vote on the plan in the coming week.
District officials also said Friday it will pursue about 150 acres of land in two separate parcels north of the Binnie Forest Preserve.
The south branch of the Kishwaukee River flows through the property involved in the deals. The river watershed includes habitat for at least four state-threatened bird species and six endangered bird species. The district already purchased 119 acres in 1969 to preserve the wetlands in the Binnie preserve. The district added to the preserve in 2002.
The cost to buy the land is not yet known. District officials want to apply for a Land Water Conservation Fund grant that could provide up to $750,000 for the acquisition.
The district can't begin negotiations on the land until it applies for the grant and gets a waiver from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to begin discussions and get an appraisal.
The full commission will vote on allowing pursuit of the grant in the coming week.