Algonquin, Carpentersville team up to tap into Fox River's potential

A $70,000 study will identify recreational opportunities on the Fox River corridor between Algonquin and Carpentersville, with the goal of turning the area into a residential and tourist destination, officials said.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning awarded the planning assistance grant to both villages. It pays for the time CMAP staff will spend on the study, said Jason Navota, a principal planner with CMAP.

The study will include riverfront property between the two towns in the McHenry County Conservation District as well as the Forest Preserve District of Kane County.

The section of the Fox River to be studied will be from the Fox Bluff Conservation area at Cold Springs Road in McHenry County on the north, to the Main Street Bridge in Carpentersville on the south, CMAP said. The area covers approximately six miles.

CMAP will use data and community feedback to compile the study. The first of three public input sessions is expected to happen this summer, Navota said.

Both villages applied for the grant jointly last year.

One of the goals in Carpentersville's Old Town plan is better use the river, especially in terms of recreation, Village President Ed Ritter said.

At the moment, Carpentersville doesn't offer any organized activity around the river.

“There's whatever people make of it,” Ritter said.

Algonquin, Carpentersville's neighbor to the north, is not quite in the same boat.

Like Carpentersville, Algonquin's downtown plan recommends looking at ways to enhance the river's recreational aspects, Algonquin Community Development Director Russ Farnum said.

While it offers two parks along the Fox River and holds events that involve it, there's more that can be done, Farnum said.

For example, Farnum said he hopes the study also identifies areas along the river that are good for hiking and bird watching.

“We're looking at enhancing the ability to use the section of river from what used to be Camp Algonquin ... on into downtown Carpentersville,” Farnum said.

The planning process is expected to last a year, Navota said.

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