Officials seeking input on Fox River plan from Carpentersville, Algonquin residents

Algonquin and Carpentersville residents will soon be able to offer opinions on a draft of the Fox River Corridor Plan.

Both villages in recent years have adopted their own comprehensive plans that included a similar goal: Identify how to more effectively use the Fox River.

"We both talk about how the river is an important part of our downtowns, but we don't really capitalize on having that resource in our backyards," Algonquin Community Development Director Russ Farnum said.

A study conducted by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning will provide both villages with recommendations on how to change that, said Brian Daly, associate planner for CMAP.

"The broad goal is (to determine) how we take advantage of the asset of the Fox River to draw people to the area, residents or visitors," Daly said. "We want to keep them there enjoying the natural aspects and supporting local businesses."

The study began last year after the villages jointly received a grant from CMAP. Based on suggestions from an online survey, public meetings and village and county representatives, CMAP staff was able to "develop a vision for the Fox River" and draft a plan, Daly said.

Residents have the opportunity to view CMAP's draft of recommendations and implementation strategies, as well as provide feedback, at two public open houses. The first will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Algonquin Village Hall, and the second at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Carpentersville Public Works Building.

"This (project) has a lot of things we love to see - communities following up on plans, working together and thinking a little bit outside the box about this river that goes through both towns," Daly said. "I think people are really excited about the river and what it could become."

The Fox River corridor and riverfront property between Algonquin and Carpentersville, which includes parts of the McHenry County Conservation District and the Kane County Forest Preserve District, already have some canoe and kayak portages, boat launches and bike trails for recreational use, Daly said. But he thinks more can be added.

"We're really hoping to give people opportunities to access the river," said Carpentersville Community Development Director Marc Huber.

Recommendations also include making improvements as simple as adding more signage along the river and the Fox River Trail, Daly said. Signs pointing to businesses or downtown areas could improve each village's economy, he said, while indicating places to stop along the river could help with safety.

Additionally, Daly said, certain marketing strategies could improve the use of the river: Holding more special events that capitalize on the river's presence; reaching out to paddling clubs and bird-watching groups; putting up natural history signage and marking spots where nature lovers can see rare birds and species.

"Really, it's just a matter of bringing people to the area," Daly said. "We think the river is a great way to do that. That's the real asset that sets this area apart."

  An man fishes along the Fox River in Carpentersville. Brian Hill/
  Boats are docked along the Fox River in Algonquin. Brian Hill/
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