Elburn could get money for bike bridge in forest district deal

  • The current headquarters of the natural resources department of the Kane County Forest Preserve District is off Hankes Road at the Aurora West Forest Preserve.

      The current headquarters of the natural resources department of the Kane County Forest Preserve District is off Hankes Road at the Aurora West Forest Preserve. Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

  • The Kane County Forest Preserve District wants to buy the former Patten Rental property on Route 47 in Elburn and move its natural resources department there.

      The Kane County Forest Preserve District wants to buy the former Patten Rental property on Route 47 in Elburn and move its natural resources department there. Susan Sarkauskas | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/2/2015 6:59 PM

Elburn will allow the Kane County Forest Preserve District to relocate one of its departments into the village if the district helps pay for a bicycle bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

The village board is due to vote Monday to allow the district to buy the former 18-acre Patten Rental business at 1001 S. Route 47 and use it to house its natural resources department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Village approval is needed because half the site is within village boundaries.

In exchange, the forest preserve district would pay up to $100,000 of the cost of building a bicycle bridge over the Union Pacific tracks, from Third Street southwest to the commuter parking lot at the Metra train station.

Nobody has made any plans for such a bridge. Village officials believe it would provide a safer way for bicyclists to connect to regional trails, rather than crossing the railroad at grade level on Second Street or Route 47.

The forest preserve district would be liable for the contribution for 10 years.

The forest preserve district must also stipulate that it will sell the land for commercial use if it decides it doesn't need any or all of it. Patten Rental (which bought Elburn Rental) leased construction and turf equipment.

The district's land acquisition committee approved the deal June 25.

The natural resources department oversees planning and development for the district, conducts scientific research, evaluates land for acquisition, and manages land. It is stationed in Aurora at the Aurora West Forest Preserve, and includes a seed garden for native plants, a seed harvesting facility, and a nursery where the district grows trees and shrubs in pots. Forest preserve district officials want a larger and centralized facility.

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