How the Dundees are shaping their parts of the Fox River

East Dundee and West Dundee have embarked on a few projects to enhance their use of the Fox River. But while West Dundee leaders want to maintain what’s already been done, East Dundee is ready to explore other options.

East Dundee is beginning to consider beautification efforts along the Fox River, thanks to revenue it’s starting to generate from tax increment finance and business development districts, which encompasses 40 percent of the village, Village Administrator Bob Skurla said.

One idea officials are weighing is whether to build a park on Water Street on property the village hopes to secure in the near future. The new TIF and BDD money could help that idea become a reality.

“East Dundee, unfortunately, has not been as active in trying to access the river as West Dundee has in years,” Skurla said. “I think we’re just starting to get into that now because we’re starting to realize some more revenue — it takes money to do things that are in the form of beautification.”

East Dundee’s efforts along the river have been limited to two projects — working with the Friends of the Fox River to clear various plants from the riverbanks and partnering with West Dundee 10 years ago to install an ice boom across the river to help stop it from flooding, Village President Lael Miller said.

The boom no longer exists because the Dundees didn’t take it over after expiration of the state pilot program that made it possible. But Miller intends to reach out to West Dundee and Carpentersville to see whether they’d be interested in bringing it back — at the cost of $50,000 for between 15 and 20 years.

Meanwhile in West Dundee, officials there embarked on a several projects meant to beautify and stabilize its riverbanks.

In the years between 1997 and 2003, officials spent about $3 million on building a riverwalk in three phases that aimed to help people access and appreciate the river.

“It sets the tone for the community and the positive image that we believe West Dundee has,” said Village Manager Joseph Cavallaro, also a West Dundee resident. “The river is basically the front door of the community and it definitely serves as a focal point and we want to make sure it’s an asset that’s utilized to the betterment of the West Dundee community.”

A $15,000 shoreline stabilization project in South End Park that involved planting vegetation and seeding, took place in 2004 with the Friends of the Fox River.

The final project took place in 2011 and involved a $45,000 program to stabilize the riverbank with boulders. The village paid for all of the projects using grants and money from its home rule sales tax.

At the moment, there’s nothing new planned for the river.

“Right now,” Cavallaro said, “our obligation is to maintain the integrity of the improvements that we already have in place.”

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