DuPage forest preserve moves ahead with Oak Meadows upgrades

Work is scheduled to begin in early July on a multimillion-dollar renovation of Oak Meadows Golf Preserve that will increase stormwater storage, create new wetlands and improve the environmental quality of the property in Addison.

DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners have awarded a $15.5 million contract to Elgin-based Martam Construction Inc. to use land for two existing courses to make a single 18-hole, par-72 course with greater flood resistance. The project also will restore the site's natural habitat and improve flood control along Salt Creek.

“I'm thrilled because it represents a collective vision that allows us to improve both the ecology on the property as well as the recreational opportunity,” said Ed Stevenson, the district's director of business enterprises. “To know that we have a contract in place, a timeline in place and plans ready to move forward is very exciting.”

Oak Meadows, which was built in the 1920s, currently includes an 18-hole course as well as a bordering 9-hole course called Maple Meadows East 9.

However, the 288-acre property has experienced increased flooding since 2007. It also lost its clubhouse in a 2009 fire.

In addition to improving the experience for the golfers who play at Oak Meadows, another goal of the project is to make the property a better forest preserve.

“First and foremost, it's a restoration project,” Stevenson said. “It's going to improve water quality, create habitat and make the preserve a higher quality preserve.

“At the same time,” he added, “we get to take the golf course — the recreation within the preserve — and make that better for future generations to enjoy.”

Maple Meadows East 9 will be eliminated as part of the work.

The future 18-hole course will have multiple tee options and expanded practice areas, officials said.

Meanwhile, the overall stormwater capacity of the property will be increased by more than 20 million gallons, officials said.

As part of the project, 25 acres of new wetlands and 43 acres of riparian habitat will be created. Officials say 13 acres will be restored along Salt Creek, which has suffered from erosion, poor water quality and limited plant and animal diversity.

Away from the creek, the district will improve 65 acres of prairie, savanna and woodland habitats.

Officials say they expect to break ground on the project on July 6. The golf operation at Oak Meadows will remain closed until the work is finished.

The district's other golf courses — Green Meadows Golf Club in Westmont and Maple Meadows Golf Club in Wood Dale — will stay open through the entire 2015 season.

Stevenson said he expects Oak Meadows to open in time for the 2017 golf season.

“It's going to be a much better course,” he said. “We think it has the chance to be recognized as one of the top public courses in the country.”

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